Enforcers Sweep Wolves
By Jonathan Kliment
Elmira, NY - A crowd of 3,999 piled into First Arena on Saturday night to watch the Elmira Enforcers take on the Watertown Wolves. This was Elmira's second sellout in a row, with the added excitement of watching the FHL’s all-time leading scorer continue to write the record books. Captain Ahmed Mahfouz scored his 700th career point with ease, much to the delight of the home crowd.
As expected, the game was off to a fast-paced and highly intense start, similar to last night’s affair. Elmira has struggled on the power play all season, but last night they formed some chemistry by burying two goals on the man advantage. Elmira had their opportunity to continue rolling on the power play in the first period but were unable to capitalize. The Wolves struck first when Kyle Powell threw a shot on net from the point, and Anton Lennartsson was there to deflect it by Elmira’s netminder Troy Passingham. Elmira’s top line was sent out to center ice following the early goal to fire a message back, and just 53 seconds later the Enforcers evened the game at 1-1. Ahmed Mahfouz walked into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush to find his leading goal scorer, Sean Reynolds across the slot to beat Watertown’s netminder high glove-side.
Elmira’s first goal in the second period came quickly. Mahfouz won the draw back to his defense, where the puck was left for his left wing, Sean Reynolds, winding around the circle from the boards. Reynolds then picked his head up to find his weak-side defenseman, Cameron Yarwood, streaking down by the net to bury the set play. This gave Elmira the lead at just 1:34 into the second period, but they were not finished. After taking a double minor for high sticking, Mahfouz immediately made up for his blunder. Coming into the zone on a rare 3-on-1, Mahfouz decided to do it all himself, sniping over the shoulder of Watertown’s netminder Christopher Marsillo, to put his boys up 3-1 after two periods.
Kyle Stevens started the final period by dropping the gloves with Watertown's Chris Williamson. This fueled the Elmira bench and sellout crowd, which led to their next goal and celebration from Sean Reynolds. Glen Patterson teed-off from the point and Reynolds was there to redirect it by the Watertown netminder, putting the Enforcers up 4-1. A little over a minute later, the Wolves were able to find the back of the net and spoil the home team's fun. Tyler Gjurich put a shot on net that was misdirected by Lane King and past Passingham. Limiting Gjurich to just one assist and keeping him relatively quiet throughout the night was a key factor to Elmira’s 4-2 victory.
Despite throwing 51 shots on net, Troy Passingham was there to record 49 saves and earn the 1st Star of the Game as well.
With the big-time sweep of the Watertown Wolves, the Elmira Enforcers are now very close to taking 2nd place from the defending Commissioner's Cup Champions. Back-to-back sellout crowds and continuous support from the city of Elmira has been a huge contribution to the Enforcers recent hot streak. Next week, the Enforcers will head to Port Huron to take on the Prowlers in a two-game weekend series on the 18th and 19th. They return home on Friday, January 25th for another battle with the Wolves.
Photo credit: Curtis Berleue Photography