Head Coach Brad Marsh and The Flyers Warriors disabled veteran hockey club traveled to western Pennsylvania to open their 2021 campaign against the Johnstown Generals. The game was played at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, the same arena where the 1977 cult classic, ‘Slap Shot’ was filmed. The Warriors jumped out to a lead early and ended up dismantling the Generals, 9-1.
The game was organized by former NHL player Steve Carlson. Most know Carlson as #17 Steve Hanson in Slap Shot, but he is a big supporter of the Generals. Sporting a #17 Chiefs’ white, blue, and yellow home jersey with a logo that read “Putting on the Foil,” he met with the Warriors in the dressing room before the game. Carlson fist-bumped the Warriors as he went around the dressing room and then started talking about the Flyers’ fantastic start. He also dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Warriors Score Early and Often
The game started as many do as the two squads of veterans felt each other out. However, the Warriors struck first on the third shift of the game. Warriors Defenseman and Army Veteran, Nicholas Pidge, read the play perfectly and snuck in from the right point. Marine Veteran, Sean Sweeney fought for the puck down low and got off a quick shot. The rebound found itself on his Pidge’s backhand and he left no doubt, burying the rebound. Little did we know at that point, the rout was on!
Scoring second for the Warriors was our player of the game, Dave Donatelli. The Army Veteran found the puck on the left half boards and was able to walk it in, firing one past the goalie. It would be the first of four goals for Donatelli on the day, thus earning him the player of the game honors!
Donatelli scored the third goal of the contest on a fed from fellow linemate, Jared Fletcher. He then assisted on the fourth goal of the game when he found defenseman and Marine Veteran, Bill Meyer right out front for the tap in. The first period ended with a little scuffle as the Generals slashed at Warriors goalie and Retired Air Force Veteran, Bill Duffy. The Warriors led 4-0.
Just getting started
The scoring continued for the Warriors as they held a few of the Generals’ rushes. To no one’s surprise, Donatelli opened the scoring as he went top shelf to give the Warriors a 5-0 lead.
Sean “Wojo” Wojciechowski, a veteran Marine, scored next. It was the first powerplay of the game and the Warriors season. Wojo got the puck in the neutral zone from his defensive partner and Navy Veteran Phil Foster. He dumped it into the offensive zone behind the goalie, who deflected it towards the right-wing half boards. The result was that another Army Veteran, Matt Stinger, was there. He retrieved the puck along the boards fired a quick shot on net. Wojo, who skated to the front of the net, deflected the puck in for the score. It would be the first of two goals for the defenseman. If you’re keeping track, that is a 6-0 score and four goals for the Army and two for the Marines at the end of the second period.
The Warriors Close It Out
The Warriors would end the game by scoring three in the third frame. The red-hot Donatelli opened the scoring for the period. The Generals answered with a power-play goal, ending the combined shutout of Duffy and retired Navy man, Nehemiah Tinsley. The Warriors answered when Marine Veteran Dave Castor took a Sweeney pass and buried a wrist shot. Wojo finished off the scoring for a Warrior 9-1 victory.
It was a great team win and as Coach Marsh stated, it was great for the Warriors to be back on the ice in a real game. Five players made their Warriors debut. Defenseman and Marine Veteran Chris Innamorato, Navy Veteran Eric Drennan, as well as Tinsley, Stinger, and one hell of a debut by Donatelli As for now, the Warriors will return to their home rink to continue to practice and prepare for upcoming games.
Stay tuned to Philly Sports Network and the Flyers Warriors social media for updates.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre