Enforcers Push Win Streak to 5
By Jonathan Kliment
Elmira, NY - The Elmira Enforcers met up with the Danville Dashers again on Saturday to engage in what was another entertaining contest. A crowd of 3,198 filed into the First Arena to see the home team walk away with a 3-1 victory in the last home game of 2018.
Elmira secured a franchise record of four wins in a row on Friday night, with a few alterations to the lineup. Head Coach Brent Clarke was forced to lace up the skates and step onto the ice in the midst of an injury crisis. Clarke stood his ground on the blue line and even recorded an assist in the 5-1 victory over the Dashers. Team Owner Robbie Nichols backed his boys on the bench as the Interim Head Coach recorded his 328th win as a head coach.
The first period got off to a slow start as each team was feeling each other out to adapt to their game plans. Elmira was able to muster a few quality opportunities, but Danville’s netminder Matt Kaludis was there to answer the pressure and shut it down. Ahmed Mahfouz flashed his skills after dangling the Danville defense, but with no pay off other than some noise from the home crowd. Both goaltenders were off to solid starts as Elmira’s Troy Passingham stoned ten shots and Danville’s Matt Kaludis rejected 12 shots.
The start of the second period is when the Enforcers decided it was go time. After surrendering a breakaway to Danville forward Brandon Contratto, Troy Passingham sent him packing in some style. Contratto broke in and tried to get a little too flashy, as he took the puck between his legs and tried to flip it over the shoulder of Elmira’s goaltender, but it didn't go as planned. Passingham made a glove save and then tossed the puck back at him after the whistle. This provoked some roars from the crowd and some taps on the pads from his teammates. Shortly after the spectacular save, Kyle Stevens executed a textbook stick-lift and takeaway during the Danville breakout that led to Elmira’s first goal of the night. Stevens curled and found Stepan Timofeyev in the slot for a pop of the water bottle. With five minutes remaining in the period, Ahmed Mahfouz found himself on a breakaway where he would be tripped up and credited with a penalty shot. Mahfouz walked in from center ice, wound up from the top of the circle, and blew it by Kaludis’ glove with a slap shot. The penalty shot snipe sent Elmira into the locker room with a 2-0 lead after two periods of play.
The third period tightened up and put the fans on the edge of their seats. Eight minutes in, Danville was finally able to crack the code on the Elmira netminder. James Angelicola recorded his first professional goal after finding the back of the net on a one-timer in the slot. Elmira mistakenly had two guys rush to the puck carrier in the corner, leaving the rookie wide open in front of the net. This shrunk the margin of the score, but Passingham and the Elmira defense were determined to eliminate anymore defensive zone mistakes. With just two minutes remaining in regulation, Glen Patterson put the icing on the cake. Danville pulled their goalie in attempt to knot the score, but Patterson was able to find some space and fire the puck for the empty net goal. This concluded the game with a 3-1 victory for the Elmira Enforcers.
Elmira is finally starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together in their first year in the FHL, as this marks their 5th win in a row. The Enforcers are currently playing some can’t miss hockey, so stay tuned on all of the action. Elmira will visit the Watertown Wolves on Monday for some New Year’s Eve festivities.
Photo credit: Curtis Berleue Photography