Thor Hammers the Equalizer, Flyers Tie Bucs

By: Steve Miller – Sports Editor

Freshman Thor Helgason finished a fast UD attack in the 84th minute with his first Flyer goal, tying East Tennessee State at one–a score that would stand through two overtime periods. Dayton tied the Buccaneers in their home opener at Baujan Field Friday night to the tune of a raucous Red Scare.

Helgason, who hails from Rejkyavik, Iceland, started the game at forward, but the Flyers did not generate much offense in the first half. He was subbed out and ETSU took a 1-0 lead into the half. The Flyers hadn’t recorded a shot on goal.

The tide turned, though, in the second half, and UD finally broke through as the clock wound down.

Red Scare at UDMS home opener.

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“I was subbed out after 40 minutes and the only thing I could think of was subbing back in and [scoring] a goal,” said Helgason after the game. He returned in the 69th and tied the match 15 minutes later.

“That was unbelievable. It was great to give the fans what they wanted,” he said.

Helgason received a pass from Rok Taneski and won the duel with ETSU’s keeper, drilling the equalizer into the right side of the net.

“[Helgason] is actually typically a defender,” said head coach Dennis Currier of his 6-foot-7 scorer. “And we put him up top against Milwaukee and he was productive so we thought we’d give him a go tonight.”
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The strategy with which Currier experimented in the exhibition against Milwaukee paid off. Helgason’s goal was just one of several dangerous offensive possessions the Flyers concocted in the second half. Strangely, it was a penalty against UD that seemed to jumpstart their attack.

In the 74th minute, senior midfielder Alvaro Navarro was assessed a red card after an ambiguous scrum in which an ETSU player fell to the ground clutching his face.

Helgason high-fiving fans after the match.

“Ultimately we actually started playing a lot better when we went down the man,” Currier said. “Once we got the red card, which we obviously felt was an unfair call, I thought our guys really started to play well and then [Helgason] did a good job getting the goal.”

The teams traded opportunities in the two overtime periods, and the match was ultimately settled in a draw as dusk set over Baujan.

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Despite the fact that UD couldn’t close out a win, Currier was satisfied with the gameplay.

“We were playing against a very good team that’s experienced and went to the NCAA Tournament last year,” he said. “We had a couple of early chances and then from there I thought that ETSU kind of took back over the game.”

Red Scare was out in full force with students enjoying the first home game of UD’s academic year. The first 500 fans received inflatable “thunder sticks” to amplify the atmosphere.

“That was the best crowd that I have played for,” said Helgason, gushing over the student section.

“It’s unbelievable, just tremendous,” said Currier. “It’s probably one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen here at Dayton. It rivals probably the NCAA Tournament game that we had…and I don’t think the guys could ask for anything better than that and we really appreciate them coming out.”

The Flyers travel to Indiana on Sunday to take on Fort Wayne at 4 p.m.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Wong and Steve Miller