Enforcers fall to River Dragons in Shootout, 2-1

by Jon Kliment

The Enforcers and River Dragons met for the second and final time this season at First Arena. Elmira had secured a victory in a shootout on Wednesday night and Columbus came out seeking revenge.


In a game with a lot of intrigue around the league as these two teams are formidable opponents, things got off to a bit of a slow start. Both teams went back and forth, but in a reverse of last night the Enforcers got off to the quick start on the shot board, but in a repeat of last night Columbus got the first goal. After a Brody Duncan shot Connor Fries pushed a rebound toward Dillon Kelley that bounced off his back and as he brought his leg back the puck bounced into the net.


The Enforcers on the other hand struggled mightily all night without Stepan Timofeyev and head coach Ahmed Mahfouz in the lineup. They had two separate 5 on 3 opportunities, but couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. It took until the last five minutes, but Jonny Ruiz fired a puck towards the net and on the rebound Tyler Gjurich threw it behind the outstretched glove of Jared Rutledge to tie the game with just 3:25 to go in the game.


Both teams seemed fine to go to the extra frame and in another night of back and forth action in the 3 on 3 which rolled right into the shootout. After a Columbus stop and a Jonny Ruiz goal, Connor Fries and Ivan Bondarenko each were able to score while Rutledge stopped Shinkaruk, Gjurich, and Ruiz to give Columbus the shootout victory.


Kelley stopped 43 of 47 and once again the Penalty Kill remained perfect.


Elmira next faces off with their fiercest rival the Carolina Thunderbirds, on Wednesday March 3rd and Thursday March 4th. Wednesday night will be shown live on Youtube and then Thursday will be live again on WETM2 starting at 7pm.