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WILLIS GETS FIRST HAT TRICK AS 'CANES THRASH ATLANTA 6-3

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

It was the Shane Willis show at the Entertainment and Sports Arena as the rookie wingman recorded his first National Hockey League hat trick in a 6-3 Carolina victory against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Willis first found the net at 10:30 of the second period to tie the game 2-2. Martin Gelinas recorded his first of assists when he found Willis beside the Atlanta net.

The goal was Willis’ seventh on the power play this season moving him ahead of Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards and into first place among NHL rookies in the category.

Willis netted the game-winner at 10:17 of the third, his fourth game-winning goal of the season. The game-winner moved Willis out of a 10-way tie among rookies and into sole possession of first place among NHL rookies in the category.

Willis’ third goal and first NHL hat trick came at 15:59 of the third when Sandis Ozolinsh passed the puck between his legs and across the crease to Willis who beat Atlanta goaltender Damian Rhodes high and to the glove side.

“It’s was an unbelievable feeling,” said Willis. “Sandis made a great pass between his legs and I was wide open on the side. It was one of those things where my line-mates deserve a lot of credit. They made some great plays and I was on the receiving end of a lot of great passes.”

Willis’ parents were in town to watch the game and might have had an effect on their son’s performance tonight.

“The funny thing is, my parents were here to see this and when I was walking out of the house today my dad told me to score a hat trick,” said Willis. “It was pretty fun to do it in front of Mom and Dad.”

Carolina’s leading goal scorer Jeff O’Neill netted his 30th of the season at 9:35. Ozolinsh skated the puck into the slot from the blue line and found O’Neill in front of the net. The assist was Ozolinsh’s second of the game en route to earning second star honors with a goal and three assists.

Hurricanes winger Sami Kapanen opened the scoring just 2:23 into the game when Ron Francis dished him the puck. Kapanen put a shot on net that bounced off Rhodes’ pads, back onto Kapanen’s stick and into the net.

The goal was Kapanen’s first since Jan. 16 at Montreal, a 3-2 Carolina overtime win. Last season, Kapanen ranked second among Hurricanes goal scorers with 24 tallies.

Thrashers leading scorer Donald Audette answered Kapanen’s goal with two of his own before the end of the first period. Audette beat Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe at 14:16 during a two-man advantage and again at 19:21 during a 5-on-5 scenario.

NOTES: In the first period, Kapanen broke the team-season-high for shots on goal in a period when he put six shots on net. Kapanen broke the season-high of five shots held by Shane Willis and Martin Gelinas… Ray Ferraro scored Atlanta’s third goal on a penalty shot with 3:13 remaining in the third period. It was the first penalty shot Carolina had faced this season.

 1st2nd3rdTOTAL
Atlanta2013
Carolina1146

First Period: Scoring: 1, Carolina, Kapanen 14 (power play) (Francis,Ozolinsh), 2:23. 2, Atlanta, Audette 28 (power play) (S Staios, Slegr),14:16. 3, Atlanta, Audette 29 (Brunette, Joseph), 19:21. Penalties: Slegr,Atl (holding), 2:01; Kohn, Atl (roughing), 8:15; Ferraro, Atl(unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:53; Dimaio, Car (holding), 10:53; Tanabe,Car (holding), 12:31; Carolina bench, served by Willis (too many men onthe ice), 13:18.
Second Period: Scoring: 4, Carolina, Willis 13 (power play) (Gelinas,Tanabe), 10:30. Penalties: Dimaio, Car (slashing), 4:14; Karpa, Car(interference), 6:15; Lambert, Atl (tripping), 8:31; Harlock, Atl(holding), 12:01; Karpa, Car (interference), 15:26.
Third Period: Scoring: 5, Carolina, Oneill 30 (Ozolinsh, Karpa), 9:35.6, Carolina, Willis 14 (Gelinas, Malik), 10:17. 7, Carolina, Ozolinsh 5(power play) (Francis, Oneill), 13:25. 8, Carolina, Willis 15 (Ozolinsh,Brindamour), 15:59. 9, Atlanta, Ferraro 25 (penalty shot), 16:47.Penalties: Tanabe, Car (slashing), 6:50; Ferraro, Atl (cross checking),10:49; T Westlund, Car (roughing), 10:49; Slegr, Atl (tripping), 12:38.

SHOTS ON GOAL

Atlanta1669--31
Carolina

15
10
10
--35

Power-play Conversions: Atl - 1 of 6, Car - 3 of 5. Goalies: Atlanta,Rhodes (35 shots, 29 saves; record: 7-15-7). Carolina, Irbe (31, 28;record: 25-20-7). A: 9,458. Referees: Pollock, S Walkom. Linesmen:Seitz, Sericolo.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYER STATISTICS

AtlantaCarolina
GA+/-ShotsGA+/-Shots
Audette
Brunette
Clark
Domenichelli
Donovan
Ferraro
Guolla
Harlock
Joseph
Kallio
Kohn
Lambert
Odgers
S Staios
Slegr
Stefan
Svartvadet
Tamer
2
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
+1
+1
even
-1
-2
+2
even
-2
-1
-2
even
-1
even
-1
even
-1
-2
even
4
1
0
3
2
3
4
0
0
2
0
0
2
5
0
1
3
1
Adams
Battaglia
Brindamour
Dimaio
Francis
G Wesley
Gelinas
Hatcher
J Daniels
Kapanen
Karpa
Malik
Oneill
Ozolinsh
T Westlund
Tanabe
Vasicek
Willis
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
3
0
0
1
0
2
0
2
0
0
0
1
1
1
3
0
1
0
0
even
even
+2
even
even
even
+2
even
even
even
+1
+1
even
+2
even
even
even
+2
0
1
2
2
2
0
0
2
0
7
0
2
2
5
3
2
0
5
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