Enforcers Sweep Wolves to Advance to Finals
By Jonathan Kliment
Elmira, NY - The Elmira Enforcers claimed victory over the Watertown Wolves in their very first playoff game in team history on the road last night. They needed to do so again on home ice to advance to the championship round -- And did just that on Saturday night, with a decisive 7-4 victory over the defending champions to advance to the Finals in front of 2,780 fans at First Arena.
The first period saw an energized Enforcers team come out and jump on the lead in shots on goal with a 13-12 advantage. Elmira scored the first goal of the game when Brandon Vuic fired one that went off Jared Rutledge’s shoulder, hit the glass behind him, bounced forward, off his back, and into the net. A tipped puck by Deric Boudreau beat Troy Passingham, but the Enforcers kept pressing, and Ahmed Mahfouz scored his first of the Playoffs at 18:17 with a backhand shot off a perfect pass from Stepan Timofeyev to give the Enforcers back the lead 2-1 at the end of one.
Just 2:53 into the second period, Elmira College alum Mitch Atkins scored his second of the postseason to increase the Enforcers lead, sneaking one by Rutledge. At 17:37, Gavin Yates scored his first of the Playoffs with a poke check on a breakaway off a sneaky pass from Timofeyev. Elmira wasn't able to maintain the shots on goal advantage, as they killed four penalties and went 26-21.
The third started off well for the Enforcers with Sean Reynolds scoring just 1:43 into the frame, which would end up being the winning tally -- However, Watertown did not go down without a fight. Tyler Gjurich scored two power play goals with a Boudreau even strength tally in between to close the gap to just a single goal. In an attempt to extend their season, the Wolves pulled their netminder, only to have it backfire and give up two empty net goals to Timofeyev which would close out the game and the series.
Troy Passingham stopped 36 of 40 for the victory.
The Enforcers will now prepare for the Commissioner's Cup Finals against the Carolina Thunderbirds. The series kicks off next weekend in Winston-Salem before returning to Elmira for Game 3 on Friday, April 26th. Get your tickets now at (607) 734-PUCK (7825).