Enforcers kick off Hilliard Cup with a Bang, 10-0
After an FPHL schedule release just a week and a half ago, things came together quickly and tonight was the first game where the points have counted played on First Arena ice in 344 days as the Enforcers played host to the Port Huron Prowlers. Elmira player/head coach Ahmed Mahfouz was finally able to coach the first game of his career from the ice surface, as player/head coach Joe Pace Jr. on the other side brought his side in for the Enforcers home opener after an abbreviated training camp on their home ice in Michigan.
There's no way this start could have been drawn up for the boys in green and white. Elmira struck first on just their second shot of the game as on a break into the offensive end, Tyler Gjurich forced it ahead to Jonny Ruiz who connected with Brandon Tucker who streaked down the left side and buried it over the shoulder of Prowler's netminder Blake Scott to give the Enforcers a 1-0 lead just 1:22 into the game! Not quite a minute later, captain Glen Patterson put a shot on goal from the top of the right wing circle and waiting in the wings was Bryce Martin, as he tipped a shot net front right past a stunned Scott to make it 2-0 Elmira. With 7:34 having passed and seeing their first man advantage of the season, the Enforcers struck again. Timofeyev sent a slight wrister on goal which Blake Scott blocked aside to his right where Carter Shinkaruk was waiting to blow one by short side, stretching the lead to three. The pressure did not stop however as Jonny Ruiz broke into the offensive zone and was able to beat Scott again to give Elmira 4-0 lead. Another couple of new comers wanted in on the action as well as Brett Gravelle took a pass from Everett Thompson and deposited it behind Scott for the 5-0 lead. Bryce Martin and Carter Shinkuark would each add a second goal on passes from Coach Ahmed Mahfouz to take a 7-0 lead to the locker room after just a single period.
The second period saw Elmira focus more on puck control and keep away tactics. However, the scoring wouldn't be stopped as Bryce Martin scored his first Hat Trick as a member of the Enforcers of a perfect set up from Stepan Timofeyev that was almost an exact replica of his first goal of the game. Five minutes later Brendan Hussey would also find the back of the net as a rebound rolled right onto his stick and he elevated it past Scott for the 9-0 lead. Port Huron pushed back hard and had several opportunities, but could not seem to find a hole in Troy Passingham big enough to slide a puck through.
The Enforcers came out in the third period to meet a defeated Port Huron team. The ending all but certain Port Huron couldn't find room below the blue line for much of the third period. Ahmed Mahfouz scored his first goal as a player coach and cemented the Elmira victory tying their all time high score in a game of 10 goals.
Troy Passingham stopped 35 of 35 shots while special teams stopped both Port Huron power plays and the Elmira power play scored on two of three opportunities.
The Enforcers move to 1-0 in the Hilliard Cup Series!
These two teams will meet again tomorrow night, Saturday February 20th at 7:05pm in game two of the Hilliard Cup!