Enforcers Edge Wolves, 5-4
The Elmira Enforcers were back in action tonight at the Watertown Municipal Arena after a much needed five days off. They were looking to gain some headway in the standings as the Wolves remain in second place with 44 total points on the season prior to this game. Elmira was coming off of a strong showing in a 6-3 win against the Rumble Bees from Battle Creek, Michigan.
The first period was definitely not lacking in action as a total of 5 goals were scored in the first twenty minutes. It was Watertown who struck first as Dominik Bogdziul found the back of the net just 2:18 into the game, giving them the early 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later the Enforcers would strike back as the captain, Ahmed Mahfouz, continued his hot streak and tied our game at one goal apiece. Not looking to be complacent at all tonight, the Enforcers struck again just 14 seconds later when Hudson Michealis beat the Watertown net-minder and continued his strong showing this season. Ahmed Mahfouz would put himself on hat-trick watch once again in the first period as he netted his second goal of the game with just under twelve and a half minutes left to play. A too many men on the ice penalty would come back to haunt the Enforcers late in the period as Watertown didn’t miss their opportunity and cut the Elmira lead to 3-2 when Cole Sonstebo beat goalie Troy Passingham for just his second goal of the season. The Enforcers would lead in both categories that matter at the end of our first 20 minutes, 3-2 on the scoreboard, and 14-11 in the shot column.
It didn’t take long for our first goal of the period as the Enforcers found the back of the net early on. Hudson Michealis would put himself on hat-trick watch, netting his second goal of the night, as Ahmed Mahfouz collected the assist and his fourth point of the night. This goal extended their lead to 4-2, and came on the power play which has been outstanding as of late. Watertown would get that goal back in a 4 on 4 opportunity when Justin Coachman of the Wolves took a cross-checking minor and the Enforcers captain Ahmed Mahfouz took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the 13:45 mark of the period, which allowed Kyle Powell to accept the pass from Tyler Gjurich and score their third goal of the game, leaving our score at 4-3. At the end of 40 minutes of play, Elmira would remain in control, 4-3 on the scoreboard although they trailed in the shot category 22-21.
It took just about half of the third period for our first goal to come as Dmytro Babenko collected his first goal in his first game back for the Enforcers as he tipped in a shot from Hudson Michealis who was looking for his third goal of the game. Also assisting on the goal was Ahmed Mahfouz, which accounted for his fifth point of the game. The Wolves would take advantage of a power play opportunity for the second time in this game just six seconds after the Enforcers took the penalty as Tyler Gjurich scored his 23rd goal of the season, cutting the Elmira lead to 5-4 with two and a half minutes left in the game.
The Enforcers would hold onto that 5-4 lead and win the first game of the two game weekend series in Watertown, despite trailing in the shot column 33-27. This win huge for Elmira as they look to work their way back into contention in the standings. The Enforcers will be back in action tomorrow night in Watertown as they’ll look for the weekend sweep with puck drop once again coming at 7:30pm.
-contributed by Zach Braster