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:
* Muskegon defenseman Michael Brodzinski had two goals and an assist, and teammate Tyler Heinonen had a goal and an assist in the Lumberjacks' 4-3 win at the Indiana Ice on Friday.
* Dubuque Fighting Saints left wing Jarrid Privitera had two goals in his team's 3-2 win at the Lincoln Stars on Friday.
* Waterloo center Taylor Cammarata, in his first game back after helping the U.S. win the gold at the World Junior A Challenge, had three assists in the 8-6 loss to Des Moines on Friday. He followed that with a goal and an assist Saturday in a 3-2 defeat of the Sioux City Musketeers. For more on Cammarata, check out this feature story.
* Cedar Rapids defenseman Clark Custer had a pair of goals Friday in the Rough Riders' 4-3 win Friday against Sioux City.
* Green Bay Gamblers goalie Michael Rotolo stopped all 33 shots for his second shutout of the season in a 2-0 win at Chicago. Right wing Trevor Olson and center Matthew Weis each had a goal and an assist.
* Team USA teammates Anthony Louis and John Hayden scored two goals each in a 7-3 win at the Chicago Steel. Louis had two more goals Sunday in a 4-3 win against Cedar Rapids. In Sunday's game, teammate Dawson Cook had three assists.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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