ATTLEBORO, MA – The third-seeded Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks fell to the top-seeded Northeast Generals in Game 3 of the East Division Finals 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
After a 46-save performance in Game 2 on Saturday, goaltender Brennan Churchill once again stood up to the challenge of facing the league’s best team from the regular season. Churchill made another 43 saves in Sunday’s game, ending the playoffs with a .947 save-percentage in five games.
Dylan Walker scored the lone goal of the game for the Hat Tricks 5:08 into the third period to cut Northeast’s lead in half. In the final minute of the third, Danbury pulled Churchill for an extra attacker.
The Hat Tricks generated a chance with Nick Rogers at the right circle, but Northeast goaltender Luke Fundator made the save and the Hat Tricks couldn’t find the tying goal.
Danbury came together as the season moved along. The Hat Tricks won just eight of their first 20 games this season, but once December hit, they found a new gear.
In their final 28 games, the Hat Tricks won 19 of them and finished the year as the third seed in the East Division.
Through injuries to key contributors like Nikita Kovalev and Eryk Fancher, Danbury still found ways to win down the stretch. Led offensively by a four-headed monster of Daniel Khatib, Nick Rogers, Elijah Devereaux and Dylan Walker, the Hat Tricks became a prolific offense.
Those four players combined for 173 points, Kovalev added 47 before his injury and Khatib ended the season as the team’s leading point scorer (48). Despite injury, Kovalev led the team with 29 goals.
Danbury’s turnaround all started between the pipes. Goaltenders Brennan Churchill and Lorenzo Rossi shined in the cage as the main workhorses through most of the season.
Churchill led the team with 19 appearances, winning 11 and helping the team to at-least a point in 13. Churchill finished the season with a .935 save-percentage, 2.45 goals-against-average and six shutouts. His six shutouts were tied for second most in the NA3HL.
Lorenzo Rossi added 11 wins for the Hat Tricks as well in 13 games played. The 16-year-old touted a .941 save-percentage and 2.03 goals-against-average this season.
Sunday’s loss is the end of the road for the Jr. Hat Tricks in the 2021-22 season. It ends with a 27-16-1-3 regular-season record and the organization’s first ever playoff win, series win and trip to the East Division Finals.