ASTON, Pa -- Connor MacDonell had a simple role on Monday afternoon: Be the man in the right spot at the right time.
Boy was he.
MacDonell recorded a hat trick and added an assist to help the Philadelphia Little Flyers beat the Protec Jr Ducks, 7-4, at IceWorks Skating Complex.
“It felt great,” MacDonell said. “I really didn’t think I had played my best since I got here and I thought I had been getting close to that level the last couple of games. Today was when it clicked for me.”
Mikey Giampapa also had a huge game, recording a goal and four assists to push his season total to 14 points in just six appearances.
MacDonell and Giampapa got to work early. Just 3:11 into the first period, Giampapa -- with help on the forecheck from Robbie Seewagen -- stripped a Protec defenseman on a breakout attempt and found MacDonell backdoor for a quick one-timer and 1-0 lead.
The duo connected again at 9:03 in the second. Giampapa faked like he was going to win a faceoff back to his blue line but instead pushed the puck between the center's skates in a split second and made a cross-ice pass to MacDonell for another one-timer from the low circle.
“I think so,” MacDonell said when asked if there is some chemistry building. “We have only been on the same line for about a week but we both play the game with a lot of pace so we work really well together.”
MeGraw made it a 5-3 game just 2:54 into the final stanza. Tyler Marvil started the play off by digging out a puck along the boards to Brett Turner, who smartly pushed the puck up to a breaking MeGraw. After two quick strides, MeGraw fired a perfectly placed shot blocker side just below the crossbar for his eighth goal of the season.
MacDonell completed the hat trick at 15:30 in the third. After Giampapa won a defensive-zone faceoff, Ryan Clear took off and dished to MacDonell on the left wing as they crossed center ice. MacDonell's wrister appeared to deflect past Protec goalie Tristan Fattedad after the initial shot was stopped.
With the goalie pulled in the final minute, MacDonell and Giampapa made sure to put the game away. After some stellar pressure on the forecheck, the Ducks coughed up the puck in their own zone and Giampapa deposited it into the empty net for a 7-4 final.
The Little Flyers had a strong showing on the man advantage Monday, cashing in on two of three opportunities.
Dante Gattone scored the first PP tally at 13:45 of the first. MeGraw settled the puck behind Philadelphia's net and sent Giampapa breaking up ice. Giampapa burst through all three zones and his shot attempt was blocked but bounced right to Gattone, who cleaned up the garbage and made it a 2-1 game.
Just 21 seconds into the second period, Gavin Fritch gave PLF a 3-1 lead with his ninth of 2020-21. Jake Frankenfield regrouped in the neutral zone before passing to Kyle Patton on the left wing. Patton entered Protec's end, wrapped around the net and set up Fritch for a bomb from the low slot.
Philadelphia was whistled for just one infraction and successfully killed off Protec's lone power-play attempt.
Joseph Henson earned his second consecutive victory after making 27 saves against the Ducks.
Since joining PLF, he's posted a 4-2-0 record with a 2.79 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in six games.
The Troy, Michigan native also has one shutout this season.
MacDonell has four goals and four assists during his current five-game point streak. He also has seven points in five games against Protec this season. ... Giampapa has 10 points (5G, 5A) in his last three outings. ... With two more points, MeGraw is up to eight goals and 23 assists in 23 games. He is tied for eighth in the league in scoring. ... Philadelphia now has seven forwards with at least eight goals.
The Little Flyers (12-11-1) have a huge matchup with Team Maryland (11-9-4) at Ice World this Wednesday. Second place in the EHL South Division will be on the line when the two teams battle at 12 p.m.