Enforcers Dominate Wolves
By Jonathan Kliment
Elmira, NY - The Elmira Enforcers came into Wednesday's game looking to add upon their two game win streak where they had scored a total of 8 goals, while only giving up 3. They did just that, with a solid 7-3 victory over defending Commissioner's Cup Champions, the Watertown Wolves. Back in the lineup tonight after being out for a period of time was the Enforcers' Captain Ahmed Mahfouz. In his 9 games played, Mahfouz has contributed 5 goals and 11 assists for a total of 16 points, and is +3 on the season. Elmira sat in 4th place before tonight's game with a season record of 8-9-0-2.
Elmira would come out hot in the first period, and Ahmed Mahfouz would get right back to what he does best, scoring goals. Just under five minutes into the frame, Mahfouz would accept a beautiful pass on a 2 on 1 scoring opportunity and finish glove-side on the Watertown netminder. Not even a full minute later, Dmytro Babenko would add the Enforcers' second goal of the game, putting them up 2-0 very early. Continuing their impressive play, the Enforcers would score their third goal of the game before the ten minute mark when Kyle Stevens ripped an absolute snipe of a wrist shot into the back of the net, forcing Watertown to make a very early goalie change. Not to be completely outdone though, the Wolves would come back with a goal of their own when Gavin Yates went 5-hole on Elmira's Troy Passingham. The Enforcers not only lead in the score column, but also lead in the shot column, putting up an impressive 16 shots in the period.
The Enforcers would come out just as hot to start the second period, as they controlled the puck in the offensive zone with precision. Forward Cal Miska was able to put a rebound past the Watertown goalie for their fourth goal. Less than a minute later, it would be Enforcers forward Kyle Stevens scoring his second goal of the game, and contributing his third point of the game, which put Elmira up 5-1. Once again like clockwork, Watertown would answer back with one of their own, as Tyler Gjurich would put the Wolves second goal of the game past the reliable Enforcers goalie, Troy Passingham. Watertown would have another opportunity to score just a couple of minutes later when they had a breakaway chance on the penalty kill, but Passingham said "absolutely not", as he made a gorgeous kick save and covered up the puck to end any thought of another goal. Watertown would be the next team to finish an opportunity in this high scoring affair, though, as Gavin Yates would find the Enforcers goalie out of position, and put the rebound in for his second goal of the game. The Enforcers finished the second tied for shots with Watertown at 27, but up on the scoreboard, 5-3.
Not much happened in the score column during the first half of the third period, but that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of action. Watertown had plenty of opportunities on the breakaway, but just couldn't slip one past Passingham. One breakaway seemed especially frustrating to the Wolves as their forward Tyler Gjurich broke his stick and threw it after a Passingham save in a fit of rage. The Enforcers would have their opportunities as well, as they were on the power play multiple times throughout the final twenty minutes. A goal would come at even strength though, when Mitch Atkins went streaking down the ice and finished 5-hole on the Wolves goalie to put Elmira up, 6-3. The Enforcers were on fire tonight, and it showed when they scored on back to back shifts for the third time, after Stepan Timofeyev put their seventh goal of the game in the back of the net.
This game was one to watch, for sure, as there were a combined 72 shots, 35 for the Enforcers, and 37 for Watertown, with a whopping 10 combined goals. The 7-3 victory for Elmira was huge over a team who is ahead of them in the standings, and put them at 9-9-0-2 on the season.
The Enforcers will be back home on Friday, December 28th and Saturday, December 29th when they take on the Danville Dashers in a weekend series.
Photo credit: Curtis Berleue Photography