Enforcers Come Back Late, Fall in Shootout 4-3

by Jon Kliment

A night after claiming their first victory of the season the Elmira Enforcers went right back to work on the final night of their trip to Georgia hungry for a second win. As this completed their only trip of the season Elmira came out trying to quickly make an impact and for the second night in a row they were able to do that. 

It took just 5:30 into the first period for the Enforcers to create havoc in front of Jared Rutledge and for Captain Ahmed Mahfouz to extend his scoring streak to two games. Mahfouz threw the puck on net and as Rutledge and his defenders all did their best to keep it out there was no deny the FHL's All Time leader in goals of his first of the night. The Enforcers took an interference penalty midway through the first when both teams were already serving matching minors to give Columbus a 4 on 3 advantage which led to Jay Croop tying the score at 1-1. That score held through the first period.

Elmira was not to be deterred however as Gavin Yates was able to break through just 1:56 into period number two off a rebound from Sean Reynolds shot that skittered off the pads of Rutledge. Reynolds assist on this goal official gave him 100 points in his professional career. This lead too would be chased down by Columbus as Zach Pease was able to net one behind goalie Joseph Murdaca at 12:07 and for the second period in a row the score ended tied.

The final regulation frame saw solid back and forth hockey between two teams that will only see each other two more times this season. The River Dragons struck first in the third as after the Enforcers were unsuccessful on a power play and had dumped the puck down the ice, they were caught in a line change that gave David Powlowski a breakaway and an easy goal for Columbus' first lead of the night. Elmira wasn't done however as Hudson Michaelis followed up a shot from Yates to put the score back even just 1:15 later.The score remained 3-3 through the end of regulation and through a five minute overtime. 

The shootout saw four members of each side face rock solid goaltending as Murdaca and Rutledge traded impressive save after impressive save. Dustin Skinner fired one five hole in round five to put the Enforcers on the board first before Croop took his spot and ripped one over the shoulder of Murdaca. After the initial five the Enforcers turned back to the lone goal scorer who once again beat Rutledge, but couldn't beat the post as the clang of rubber against metal rang through the arena. Columbus also turned to their lone goal scorer as Croop would beat Murdaca and give the River Dragons their first home win of the season. 

Murdaca stopped 45 of 48 shots in the shootout loss and the Enforcers left the south with 3 out of a possible 6 points.

The Enforcers return home to face off with the Delaware Thunder for Pink in the Rink on Friday November 8th at 7:05pm during which they will be wearing the purple jerseys which will then be auctioned off post game to benefit Domestic Violence Victims. Get your tickets now 607-734-PUCK!