Enforcers Edged in 4-3 Overtime Loss

by Jon Kliment

The Enforcers entered the final game of their six game homestand looking to accomplish something never before done in franchise history, beat Carolina back to back. It has been a long history with Carolina with controversial calls, interesting endings, and brutality in all zones.


Elmira came out with some juice as they pushed the pace of play early on. Helped by a goal from Tyler Gjurich at 12:56 of the first on the power play. The puck was shot from Carter Shinkaruk bounced off the goaltender right onto the waiting stick of Gjurich who shot the puck past Nick Modica to give Elmira a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later Brandon Tucker took a pass from Carson Vance, came streaking down the near side boards and put a perfect shot past Modica to give Elmira the 2-0 lead.


Carolina was down, but definitely not out, as they stormed back in the second frame. After barraging Dillon Kelley with shots Jan Salak was able to put one by the goaltender to put the Thunderbirds back to within one goal. However despite out shooting the Enforcers 26-4 in the period Carolina couldn't find the back of the net again in the second.


The third period saw Elmira on the power play for much of the early portion. After a 5 minute major penalty to Dominik Fejt that took Everett Thompson out of the game as well. The Enforcers seemed content to move the puck around and keep the clock moving in an effort to secure the win. This almost worked, but the Thunderbirds were able to put a goal past Kelley just as they were pulling Modica after Tommy Tsicos redirected a Josh Koepplinger shot to even the game. Twelve seconds later Carolina found the net again as Jon Buttitta was able to slide one five hole past Kelley to give the Thunderbirds the lead. The Enforcers had no choice but to pull the netminder and attack 6 on 5 and Tyler Gjurich moved himself into sole possession of second all time in FPHL goals as Elmira tied it up to take it to 3 on 3 overtime. 


It was to be Carolina's night however in the five minute 3 on 3 overtime as Koepplinger found the back of the night with just five seconds remaining giving Elmira their second overtime loss of the season.


Dillon Kelley stopped 48 of 52 in the loss. 


The Enforcers will be on the road next for a three game series in Port Huron Friday March 12th, Saturday March 13th, and Sunday March 14th before returning to First Arena for one game against the Thunderbirds on Wednesday March 17th at 7:05 pm.