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Danville cracks Thousand Islands’ goalie

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It took nearly 60 minutes and a fortuitous bounce, but the Danville Dashers finally got to Matt Anthony.

Jonathan Juliano scored the deciding goal in the third period and goalie Justin Sand made 37 saves as Danville downed Thousand Islands, 2-0 on Thursday night in a Federal Hockey League clash at Watertown Municipal Arena.

In recording their first shutout this season, the Dashers (9-19) are only the second team to blank the Privateers (14-11) this season and the first to accomplish do so on Thousand Islands’ home ice.

“Because of the holiday, most of us weren’t together for the last few days,” Juliano said. “So to come out and get a win like this and our first shutout of the season is big for us.”

“It was game that we should have won,” Privateers’ assistant captain Peter Campbell said. “We had lots of pressure, lots of chances and lots of opportunities. I guess we weren’t bearing down, and we didn’t have it tonight. But that’s no excuse — we gave up a lot of chances as well.”

Anthony, who shut out Danville twice earlier this season, held the Dashers scoreless for much of this meeting before Juliano broke through with his goal.

“We’ve had trouble with him the last couple games,” Juliano said of Anthony. “We just kept working hard, and we were just throwing everything at the net and got a lucky bounce.”

Juliano took a shot from right corner, which caromed off Anthony’s goal stick and into the net 14 minutes, 20 seconds into the final period.

“It wasn’t a pretty goal,” Danville coach Rob Schweyer said. “It was about hard work and determination in getting the puck to the net.”

Anthony, who stopped 31 of 32 shots faced, had held Danville scoreless in eight-plus periods in three appearances against the Dashers this season.

“He’s the backbone of our team,” Campbell said of Anthony, whose scoreless streak against Danville was halted at 174:20. “He’s a rock back there and he gives us a chance to win every night. Tonight was a perfect example of this, but we couldn’t score a goal to help him.”

Sand, who made 29 saves over the final two periods, improved to 5-1-0 with Danville.

“He’s been really strong for us,” Schweyer said of Sand. “I think he was the missing piece of the puzzle for us after the first portion of the season, and he played another fantastic game for us.”

Danville’s Kevin McCready was credited with an empty-net goal with 22.1 seconds remaining as a result of a Privateers’ miscue.

The Dashers endured a 16-hour bus trip from eastern Illinois through a snowstorm and made it into town late. As a result Thursday’s game started nearly 20 minutes late.

“In the 10 games, the boys have really come together and become united as a team and a family,” Schweyer said. “We had the adversity of being on a bus for 16 hours and really didn’t get a full pregame meal. So for us to come out and play disciplined and get a win like this is nice to see.”

Thousand Islands, while killing off all five Danville power plays, went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.

Late in the third period, the Privateers generated six shots on a pair of power plays, including a two-man advantage spanning 31 seconds, but were unable to cash in.

“This is a tough loss,” Campbell said. “We’re coming off the Christmas holiday after we had a big overtime win in Dayton, so we wanted to stay on a roll. But to start off like this is unacceptable. There are no excuses.”

Thousand Islands, which out shot Danville, 37-33, had won seven of its previous eight home games before the setback.

After being out shot 11-8 through one period, the Privateers generated a 29-22 advantage in shots over the final 40 minutes.

“There are some things you can control and some that you can’t,” Schweyer said of the long bus ride. “Our guys just stuck with it and outbattled them.”

The Privateers host the Dashers at 7:35 tonight and will also entertain the Williamsport Outlaws at 7:35 on Saturday night.

nNOTES: Thousand Islands leads the season series 3-2. ... The Privateers are now 10-4 on home ice. ... Fourth-place Danville has now won four of its past seven games after losing six consecutive games. ... The two teams meet again on Jan. 4-5 in Danville.

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