Elmira Wins Franchise Record 6th Straight

by Jon Kliment

The Enforcers were back at the First Arena on Friday night after beating up on the Port Huron Prowlers last weekend. Unfortunately for Elmira, the leading scorer of the FHL, Tyler Gjurich, was coming into town. On the bright side, Gjurich was missing his right-hand-man in Gavin Yates. Yates, who was called up to the SPHL, was the second-leading point scorer in the FHL and set up many of his teammate’s goals. Elmira swept the reigning champions two weekends ago, but they had a different looking roster in those contests as well. Sean Reynolds, the team’s leading goal scorer, Cal Miska, and Ryan Devine were all called up to the SPHL.

For a team that was on a five-game winning streak, the Enforcers did not come out of the gates looking like themselves. Although credit must be given to Watertown for a strong period of play, everyone in the building knew there was more left in the tank for Elmira. Lane King put Watertown on the board seven minutes into the game. After a shot from the point, King put home a rebound off the pillows of Elmira’s steady netminder, Troy Passingham. Just when Elmira thought they were going to escape the period only trailing by one goal, Watertown struck again with just 10 seconds remaining in the period. This time on the Powerplay, Watertown set up another goal with a rebound. Anton Lennartsson pounded home the rebound with the assist once again coming from Tyler Gjurich. With the elimination of costly turnovers, Elmira still had plenty of time to crawl their way back into this game.

After coming out cold, the Enforcers were red hot in the 2ndperiod. However, to make the comeback even more difficult, Elmira let Watertown find the back of the net one last time before their surge. After letting a pass sneak through the slot and into their own cage to make it 3-0, Elmira said enough is enough. The captain, Ahmed Mahfouz set up the first goal of the game for Elmira to get the scoring started. Mahfouz walked into the zone from the boards and found Kyle Stevens across the zone to hammer home the one-timer. This goal seemed to spark a fire for Elmira as they did not let up for the rest of the period. Just one minute later the defenseman, Cameron Yarwood, decided he wanted to join the offensive explosion. After receiving a pass from Brandon Vuic, Yarwood calmly possessed the puck and took a look at his options from the blue-line. In the end, he decided his own shot was the best option as he wound up and blasted one by the Watertown netminder to decrease the deficit to one goal. With five minutes to go in the 2nd period, Elmira evened the score at 3-3. Brendan Hussey received a pass from Brandon Vuic in the corner and knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. With his 5thgoal in the past three games, Hussey beat Jared Rutledge on his glove-side. After displeasing the Elmira crowd after one period of play, the Enforcers made sure to make up for that in the 2ndperiod.

Elmira did not take their foot off of the gas pedal as they came out even stronger in the 3rdperiod. The Enforcers were just simply bullying the Wolves tonight, and it was evident that the players from Watertown wanted nothing to do with it. Mahfouz picked up right where the team left off when he scored just 25 seconds into the period. After a skirmish in front of the net, the puck was lying no more than an inch away from the goal line, but no one other than Mahfouz seemed to know the puck was there. The captain poked it across the goal line to make the score 4-3 and send the Elmira crowd into a roar. With just five minutes to go in the final period, Elmira capped off the comeback with their fifth unanswered goal. The sharpshooter, Cameron Yarwood, was able to bury his second goal of the night after a beautiful pass from Ahmed Mahfouz that set up the one-timer beside the net. After trailing 3-0, Elmira had the heart and hustle to never give up.

With their sixth victory in-a-row, this marks an Elmira Enforcers franchise record. Elmira will look to continue their win streak as they will take on the Wolves once again tomorrow night, except this time the game will take place in the Wolves’ territory.

~contributed by Brooks Vertoske