Enforcers Down Prowlers In 2nd Hilliard Cup Game, 6-1
After the Enforcers won the Hilliard Cup opener and 2021 FPHL season opener last night by a wide 10-0 margin, Port Huron and Elmira came back together for the rematch at First Arena in the second of a back-to-back to close out the weekend series. Player/Head Coach Ahmed Mahfouz scratched himself tonight after a strong effort all around and made a few lineup changes as well giving the go for forward Mark Essery, defenseman Kyle Gonzalez, and goaltender Dillon Kelley to make their season debuts.
The first period kicked off with the two sides trading scoring chances back-and-forth in the opening moments, but it was the Enforcers who struck first for the second straight night. Captain Glen Patterson recovered the puck at the Elmira blue line and dropped a pass ahead to Brett Gravelle who took it in stride, jamming it up to Carter Shinkaruk as he cut to the right-wing side. Shinkaruk saw Stepan Timofeyev waiting net front and lobbed it to him, as Timo took it up and over Blake Scott with 9:20 to go in the first frame. Elmira wouldn't stop there however, as next it was JT Walters taking the puck and wrapping it around the boards to land it behind the cage of Nick Neidert. Jonny Ruiz snuck in and picked up the rubber, finding Tyler Gjurich on the top of the left wing circle. who buried a laser by Neidert to double the Enforcers lead. Elmira carried a 3-0 advantage into the first break after Walters stole the puck away on a bad turnover at center ice, and sent a drop pass forward to Brett Gravelle who deked around the stick of a Prowlers defender, driving towards the net, and tipping a wrister by the Port Huron netminder to cap the first period's scoring.
Following the intermission, Elmira didn't wait long to strike again. With 17:39 to go in the second stanza, Blake Peavey sputtered the puck from the half wall to Brendan Hussey, in turn leading it up to Elmira forward Everett Thompson who rifled it five-hole through Nick Niedert to stretch the Enforcers lead to 4-0. Elmira controlled puck possession and scoring chances for a majority of the middle period. Timofeyev picked up his second of the night and season after Brett Gravelle's initial chance on a 3-on-1 odd-man break was waived off by the referees and Stepan converged and tipped it in to pull Elmira's lead to 5-0 to close out the second period.
The third period had a bit of tension, and saw a couple more goals added to the night's totals. 3:29 into the period, the Prowlers cracked the scoresheet for the first time this season thanks to a perfect feed from Steve Leonard to Dalton Jay, with a power move past Kelly making it 5-1 in favor of Elmira. With time ticking down, things began to get chippy on both sides - but the Enforcers wouldn't let it bother them as they put up one more, which so happened to be the final goal of the game. Tyler Gjurich slid the puck to Jonny Ruiz as he darted toward the net, and Ruiz laid a backhander top shelf up and in to light the lamp with under a minute to go, as the board now read 6-1 Enforcers.
Dillon Kelley turned away 36 of 37 shots faced.
The Enforcers return to action on Tuesday, February 23rd as they play host to the visiting Columbus River Dragons beginning at 7:05pm. Catch all the action live on YouTube and Mixlr so you don't miss a minute of Elmira Enforcers play this season!