Enforcers Take Lead in Playoff Series with Wolves
By Jay Harris
Watertown, NY - The Elmira Enforcers came out on top in a back-and-forth match with the Watertown Wolves at Watertown Municipal Arena on Friday night. It was Game 1 in a best-of-three series for the opportunity to go to the Finals for the Federal Hockey League's Commissioner's Cup.
Watertown scored first at 4:25 in the first period. Former Enforcer Tyler Prendergast went top shelf on Troy Passingham from the top of the faceoff circle on a play from Aleh Shypitsyn and Yianni Liarakos. Egor Kostyukov's roughing penalty gave Elmira their chance to tie the game up, when Sean Reynolds tickled the twine with assists by Ahmed Mahfouz and former Wolf Gavin Yates. The Enforcers took the lead on a goal from Mitch Atkins via Glen Patterson. As the frame winded down, Prendergast scored his second goal of the night from Tim Santopaolo to tie the game at 2.
The second period offered moments for fans of each team to have their frustrations rise. Elmira had a goal waived off in the first minute because the goal came off the net first. A surge of physical activity in Watertown's offensive zone led to four separate players earning penalties. Christian Whitcomb was charged a five-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct that had him ejected for the game. The other penalties went to Elmira's Yan Dumontier for cross-checking, Brandon Hussey for roughing, and Brandon Vuic for tripping. Tyler Gjurich capitalized on the resulting power play, with assists on his goal coming from Prendergast and Kyle Powell. Gjurich extended the Wolves' lead courtesy of Lane King and Deric Boudreau. The Enforcers protested the goal, saying the puck never crossed the line, but officials let the goal stand. Vuic closed in on the Wolves' lead with an unassisted goal at 13:47, but Watertown held their one-goal lead for the rest of the period.
Stepan Timofeyev tied the game at 11:16 of the third period. Reynolds tallied his second goal of the night with just 44 seconds left in the game to put the Enforcers back on top and take the win.
The 1st and 2nd Stars of the Game went to Elmira's Sean Reynolds and JT Walters. 3rd Star went to Watertown's Tyler Prendergast for his 3 points on the night.
The teams now head to the First Arena in Elmira for Game 2 on Saturday, and a decisive Game 3 on Sunday (if necessary).