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Fitzpatrick's five-spot shatters scoring slump

by Brian Compton

Dayton Bombers forward Chanse Fitzpatrick became the 25th player in ECHL history to net five goals in a game, and he did it all in one single period.

Three games into the season, Dayton Bombers forward Chanse Fitzpatrick wasn’t getting any bounces or breaks. The frustration was starting to reach alarming levels.

Two periods into last Saturday night’s game against the Trenton Devils at the Nutter Center, the Bombers found themselves in a 1-0 hole. Nothing continued to go right for Fitzpatrick, who had been acquired from the Phoenix Roadrunners over the summer for his scoring touch.

Fifty-two seconds into the third period, everything changed. Fitzpatrick scored his first goal of the season on the power play to tie the game. A little over two minutes later, he scored again to put the Bombers in front.

But he wasn’t done – far from it, in fact. Fitzpatrick would score three more times in the final five minutes, picking up power-play tallies at 15:03, 16:20 and 17:34.

That’s right. Five goals in one period. So much for a slow start.

“After the third goal, I was just kind of, ‘OK, good. I got the hat trick out of the way,’” Fitzpatrick told “All of a sudden, boom … two more. Everyone was just like; ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Incredibly, Fitzpatrick became the 25th player in ECHL history to score five goals in a game. Chris Minard last accomplished the feat, with the Alaska Aces on Jan. 8, 2005, against the Victoria Salmon Kings. Four of his tallies came in the opening period.

It marked the second time in Fitzpatrick’s life that he was able to find the back of the net five times in a game. He said he also had the same amount of success when he was playing bantam hockey – which, ironically, was mentioned on the Bombers’ scoreboard prior to the game. To top it off, Fitzpatrick, a native of Prince Edward Island, had his parents in the building on Saturday.

“Prior to the game, they do these player profiles,” Fitzpatrick explained. “I didn’t know it was going to be in for that game, but in my last year of bantam, I scored five goals in a game. They put that on for the player profile prior to that game, and I ended up scoring five. My parents were actually there. It was amazing.”

Bombers coach Bill McDonald said it was quite a sight from the bench, watching Fitzpatrick get into position time and time again to increase Dayton’s lead. McDonald was happy to see his player get rewarded after coming up empty in the team’s first three games.

“He hadn’t scored a goal, and he was pressing a little bit,” McDonald said. “By the hat trick, everybody started looking at each other. On the fourth one, everybody got up and was kind of in awe. The fifth one, everybody was sort of laughing like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’”

Trenton coach Rick Kowalsky felt the same way, although his reaction was more geared toward the fact that his team couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. The Devils were whistled for four minor penalties in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

“Four of them were on the power play,” Kowalsky said. “We weren’t happy that we were in the box and putting ourselves behind the 8-ball. Some guys have a tendency to capitalize. There’s no question in Chanse’s case that he definitely was in the right place in the right time. It was pretty wild, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t even think about who was scoring the goals. I was more disappointed in the fact that they were going in.”

Fitzpatrick just was happy to contribute to a club that struggled out of the gate. The Bombers dropped their first two games of the season before picking up a 5-3 win over the Johnstown Chiefs Friday – just 24 hours before Fitzpatrick’s unforgettable night. Dayton dropped a 6-5 decision to the Augusta Lynx in overtime Wednesday, but remains 3-0-1 in its last four games.

“It was very, very frustrating,” Fitzpatrick said of his – and Dayton’s – slow start. “First of all, we only played three games in the first three weeks. Everybody else has played seven, eight games. It was hard to get into a groove. (Saturday) was great. We were at the bottom of the pack. We needed something. It was just amazing. This whole time, I was getting shots. I just couldn’t find the net. It just seemed like every shot was going in. All of a sudden, it just came.”

McDonald knows it will be a while before the ECHL – or any other professional league, for that matter – sees a performance like this any time soon. In the end, he was pleased to see Fitzpatrick get on the score sheet.

“It takes a while for some guys to get going, but I was happy for him,” McDonald said. “I know what he’s all about. It was good to see. It was entertaining … not for Trenton, but it was entertaining for the fans. It was kind of wild and kind of phenomenal.”

Farewell, O.B. -- One team’s loss is another’s gain.

Mike O’Brien, the Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting for the Trenton Titans/Devils since 2003, is moving up within the organization. O’Brien will call his last T-Devils game tomorrow night at Sovereign Bank Arena before becoming the new Director of Team Media and Services for the Lowell Devils of the American Hockey League.

Being a former Trenton beat reporter, this certainly is a well-deserved promotion for O’Brien. He is a tireless worker who did anything the club asked of him.

Good luck, O.B. You will be missed.

Around the ECHL – The Pensacola Ice Pilots acquired goaltender John Daigneau from the Idaho Steelheads on Thursday in exchange for future considerations. Daigneau went 1-0-2 with a 2.94 GAA in three starts for Idaho. … The Utah Grizzlies tabbed Jim McKinnon as new president and chief operating officer. … The Phoenix Roadrunners acquired forward Ryan Walsh from the Gwinnett Gladiators Wednesday for future considerations. The 27-year-old had two points in six games for Gwinnett. … The Wheeling Nailers sent rookie forward Jason Tejchma to the Mississippi Sea Wolves Wednesday for future considerations. He had one goal in five games for the Nailers. … Phoenix forward Daniel Sisca was named the Player of the Month for October. He had four goals, four assists and a plus-4 rating in five games.

Brian Compton can be e-mailed at:

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