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Sun., Oct. 4
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Local pro hockey: Dayton comes back to beat Watertown, 5-3


Credit the Dayton Demonz with a timely comeback effort.

But for the Watertown Privateers, it was more of the same on Saturday night, blowing another lead and another potential win.

The Demonz scored four unanswered goals, including Wehebe Darge’s game-winning goal in the third period, to rally past the Privateers, 5-3, in Federal Hockey League game at Watertown Municipal Arena.

Watertown (3-7) has now lost three consecutive games, and the setback comes a night after Watertown also led 3-2 through two periods of play, but was edged 4-3 in overtime by the Danville Dashers.

“This is another loss after we had the lead going in the third period,” Watertown coach Brad Zangs said. “We just can’t give up leads like that after playing so hard. ... We’ve just got to pick it up and work harder in the third period.”

The Privateers had a 3-2 lead entering the third period before the Demonz (5-5) scored three goals in the final 20 minutes.

“That’s a good team and they never go away,” Privateers team captain Kris McCarthy said of Dayton.

Ahmed Mafouz contributed a goal and two assists for Dayton (5-5), and Anthony Battaglia chipped in with a goal and an assist.

“This was a big win for us,” Dayton coach Trevor Karasiewicz said. “Just like last night, we were down one going into the third tonight and the boys just kept battling. So it was nice to see.”

Trailing by two goals, Jared Hicks scored on a tip-in for the Demonz at 6 minutes, 49 seconds of the middle period. Jonathan Juliano drew Dayton even as he took a pass from Mahfouz and scored 3:46 into the third.

“I think we get complacent,” said Zangs, “and feel too comfortable and relaxed. It seems like when we get a two-goal lead, we stop finishing our checks, we stop finishing and making good passes. But we’ll battle through this and get it going.”

Darge scored the go-ahead goal and the game-winner, stripping the puck from a Watertown defender, skating in and beating goalie Matt Anthony from in close with 12:56 left in regulation.

“Basically hard work gave us a lucky bounce,” Karasiewicz said of the go-ahead goal. “We killed off a penalty, Darge came out of the (penalty) box and scored a big goal for us. That’s what can happen when you work hard.”

Battaglia added an empty-net goal with 9.1 seconds left for the Demonz, who won third straight.

“We should have won last night, too, and we let it slip out of our hands,” McCarthy said. “It’s frustrating. We’re playing good hockey, but we’re just not finishing teams off.”

Goalie Matthew Kinsella stopped 26 of 29 shots for Dayton, which won at Danbury, 3-2 in overtime on Friday night.

“It seems like all our losses have been in the third period,” Zangs said. “We’ve put ourselves in good position to win games, but the last three games we’ve just given away after we’ve stopped working in the third period.”

Anthony finished with 39 saves. Dane Erickson and Ludlow Harris generated a goal and an assist each for the Privateers.

After Harris scored the game’s first goal with a short-handed tally 6:15 into the opening period, Erickson followed with a power-play goal only 22 seconds into the second for a 2-0 Watertown lead.

Erickson scored on a Privateers’ 5-on-3 man advantage from Branden Parkhouse’s feed out of the corner.

After Mahfouz scored at 3:01 for Dayton, Beni Berisha tallied his second goal of the season for a 3-1 Privateers edge at 5:27.

Watertown, which plays at Dayton at 7:35 p.m. on Thursday, returns to host Danbury at 7:35 on Friday and Saturday nights.

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