Enforcers Play Tough but Lack Wins at Home
By Jonathan Kliment
Elmira, NY - The Elmira Enforcers were looking to bounce back on Saturday from a hard-fought battle the previous night to the FHL leading Carolina Thunderbirds. Despite the loss, Opening Night at First Arena was a success. After going dark for over a year, professional hockey returned to the city, and the Enforcers filled the stands in record setting numbers, selling out with 4,310 people. Opportunities weren't at a premium despite the low scoring game, as Carolina led in the shot column 34-19. Both teams came back tonight looking for a win as the Thunderbirds want to stay atop the standings and Elmira wanted to make some headway against a very solid team.
The Enforcers came out strong in the first period tonight, dominating the puck on offense for the majority of the first twenty minutes. Elmira was moving the puck with a purpose and it led to many scoring opportunities. Despite the offensive performance for the Enforcers, it was Carolina who struck the scoreboard first. At 8:38 Josh Pietrantonio was able to come out of a scrum in front of the net and poke one past Enforcers goalie Troy Passingham. The big surprise of the period was the number of penalties. Carolina committed a slew of infractions during the duration of the period but the Enforcers just couldn't capitalize.
The second period brought a much different tune. The Thunderbirds came out with a chip on their shoulder and dominated the puck on offense. Carolina sent twelve shots at Passingham in the frame and had plenty of other scoring chances, as they were able to control the puck with speed and precise passing. Despite all of the shots from Carolina, and just four coming from Elmira, the score remained 1-0 after 40 minutes. Lack of scoring didn't mean a lack of action, though, as the bad blood boiling between these teams doesn't seem to be taking a turn for the better. Glen Patterson dropped the gloves early with Everett Thompson to send a little jolt through the Enforcers crowd. Later on, it was Carolina's Joe Cangelosi looking for a piece of Elmira defensemen Darren Lamble. Lamble was able to throw one good punch, sending the Carolina forward to his knees, and sending both men to the penalty box. Penalties continued to hinder both teams from having the strength of all of their men on the ice.
The third period was very back and forth, with both teams controlling the puck in the offensive zone. Despite the efforts of Enforcers goalie Troy Passingham, Everett Thompson was able to break away from the pack and flip one by early on in the period to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead, which held to the end.
Passingham had 27 saves on the night, but Carolina goalie Henry Dill was perfect, shutting Elmira out on 20 saves.
The Elmira Enforcers drop to 2-5-0-1 on the season, and Carolina improves to 7-1-0-0 to hold a commanding lead over first place in the FHL. Elmira will play one game on the road in Watertown before Thanksgiving on November 21st, and return home for their second weekend series at the First Arena on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th.
Photo credit: Choice Photography