LEWISTON — Mired in a season-opening, nine-game funk and fresh off a coaching change, the Danville Dashers hoped a trip to the East coast might heal some of their woes.

Instead, they opened some new wounds.

Matt Moffat scored a goal and added three assists, Matt Caranci added a pair of goals and former Quinnipiac goaltender Peter Vetri stopped 22 of 25 shots to earn the victory as the Danbury (Connecticut) Whalers pounded the Dashers, of Danville, Illi., 11-3, in the second game of the Federal Hockey League’s five-game Maine Event at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Thursday.

“Those guys played pretty hard the first period, but we’ve got a bunch of pretty good players and our guys just keep churning and churning and churning,” Whalers coach Phil Esposito said. “We try to back them off a bit, but they’re professional players and they want to keep playing.”

Attendance was down from the league’s first foray to Lewiston, officially announced as 925, with the third game set for the Thursday following Christmas, Dec. 29.

The stands cleared out even further with 10:41 to play in the third frame when Whalers’ forward Corey Fulton tried to start a fight with Minot native Mike Carpenter, who’d signed earlier in the day to play one game for the Dashers. Carpenter wanted no part of the fight, and tried to skate to his team’s bench. As he got there, Shane Ferguson started retaliating from the bench in defense of the young defenseman. Several moments later, the Danbury bench emptied and every player from both sides — goalies included — became entangled in the mishmash of pads, jerseys and flying fists.

Fulton was enraged after an earlier incident, when Carpenter appeared to catch Whalers forward Devin Guy with a slash as Guy scored. Guy immediately bolted to the locker room clutching his lower arm. He later returned to the game.

“Devin took a pretty hard two-handed slash there, almost the point where he might have had an arm that was broken,” Esposito said. “We don’t need that, and our guy (Fulton), that’s his job. He took exception to it and he wanted to go take care of it. It’s unfortunate it happened in front of their bench and it turned into what happened.”

Former Lewiston Maineiacs forward Todd Chinova made his return to the Colisee as a member of the Whalers, and received the largest pregame ovation from the crowd.

“It felt good, I miss it here,” Chinova said. “I had a good time here, and it was good to see everybody.”

He was surprisingly quiet in a game during which his team racked up 11 goals, 48 shots and 130 minutes in penalties. For his part in the third-period melee, Chinova received two five-minute majors and a pair of game misconduct penalties and was escorted from the ice.

All three goals in a relatively tight first period came during Danville Dashers power plays.

The problem for Danville, though, was that two of those were Danbury short-handed tallies.

Chris Clark bounced a shot toward Danville goalie Nick Wydock that toppled end over end and squeezed through the keeper for a 1-0 Whalers advantage only 3:27 into the contest.

The Dashers got one back near the end of an extended power play as Dan Morini mopped up at the left side of the cage with a wrister from the low circle.

But 1:29 later, the Whalers broke out again shorthanded. This time, goalie Peter Vetri started the sequence that ended when Kelly Miller danced through the Dashers’ defense and deposited the puck behind Fritch to help Danbury regain its lead.

The second period was all Whalers as they scored five times. Caranci netted his two goals in that frame, while Stephen Mallaro, Alec Kirschner and Moffat also scored.

Danbury tacked on three more early in the third to stretch the lead to 10-1 before the brawl. On the ensuing 10-minute, five-on-three power play for Danville, the Dashers managed a pair of goals to close the Whalers’ lead to 10-3, but Guy added the dagger with less than a minute to play for the 11-3 win.


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