Des Moines Buccaneers center Joseph Gambardella isn't really a player his team expects to provide a lot of offense. In fact, the 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward had just five points in his previous nine games prior to Friday's meeting with the United States Hockey League's Western Conference-leading Waterloo Black Hawks.
But in 60 minutes Friday, Gambardella matched that nine-game output with his best game of the season, netting a hat trick and adding two assists in Des Moines' 8-6 win.
Gambardella scored the game's first goal, with 16 seconds left in the first period, and drew an assist on William Nong-Lambert's goal 61 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0. After Waterloo tied the game 2-2 early in the second, Gambardella put Des Moines back on top. He assisted on Eric Martinsson's goal 5:10 into the third to make it 5-3 Des Moines, and then he closed the scoring for the night with one more goal with 10 seconds left in regulation.
The five-point night gave Gambardella four goals and 12 points in 17 games.
Here is how a few other 2013 NHL Draft-eligible prospects fared: