Enforcers Topple Thunderbirds, 4-2
by Jonathan Kliment
Following a weekend in Port Huron that saw the Enforcers fall in back-to-back games after winning the Friday night affair, the boys returned to First Arena to battle the rival Carolina Thunderbirds. A couple key pieces that weren't available over the weekend returned to the lineup, however a couple more valuable assets were missing tonight as Elmira looked to use that as fire trying to get their four games in five days stretch started right.
The opening period started off rather slow in the scoring department despite the energy both teams showed in their up and down the ice breaks both ways. The home side was finally able to light the lamp first 15:58 in to the game. Brandon Tucker led a pass up in to the offensive end to a waiting Mitch Atkins between the circles, as he corralled it and fed a feed to Carter Shinkaruk who in turn blazed it too shelf by Nick Modica to put the Enforcers ahead 1-0. Elmira's advantage only lasted eleven seconds, thanks to an odd careem that rolled in the Thunderbirds favor. Tommy Tsicos controlled the puck after a skip off the boards, which found itself net front to Zach White as he threw it off the back of Dillon Kelley and in to even the board at 1-1.
In the middle period, the two sides traded a handful of chances yet again but the only goal of the frame came to the the Enforcers. Kyle Gonzalez sent a bullet feed off to the right behind the cage to Blake Peavey, who dropped a snipe to Alexis Girard in the slot. Girard ripped it blocker side by Modica with 10:32 remaining till the intermission to put the Enforcers back on top, 2-1, which is how the score stood after 40 minutes of play.
Period 3 saw Everett Thompson take yet another hard trip in to the boards, this time around from Peter Panacek which put the Enforcers on a 5 minute man advantage. Carolina was able to knot the game up as Josh Koepplinger scooped up a puck and whistled it by Kelley 7:32 in to the final period of action. With 4:07 left in the game though, Tyler Gjurich hit a perfect cross ice pass to Brett Gravelle streaking in from the left wing circle and he let it fly in to the net putting Elmira on top 3-2. Mitch Atkins added an empty netter with 6 seconds remaining to ensure the Enforcers win over the rivals of the south by a 4-2 score.
Dillon Kelley stopped 49 saves on 51 shots.
The Elmira Enforcers are back on the ice down in Georgia for a three game series in three days versus the Columbus River Dragons beginning Friday at 7:35pm. Don't forget to tune in live on YouTube and Mixlr.