Columbus Jumps Out To A 2-0 Series Lead With 2OT 4-3 Game 2 Win
By Jonathan Kliment
Following a 4-2 defeat in Game #1 of the Ignite Cup finals series a night ago, the Enforcers returned to their home ice sheet at First Arena for the final game they'll host until the fall. The River Dragons speed and agility were clearly on display in the opening game of the series a night ago, and Elmira looked to make sure that was one thing they slowed down in the second game of the championship series. A few minor changes were made to the lineup on the Enforcers side of things with the two biggest being Ahmed Mahfouz wearing the suit and tie, and not the pads and jersey, and Dillon Kelley getting the start in the cage over Troy Passingham who was roughed up a night ago.
The game clearly didn't get started the way the boys decked out in black and green would have liked. Just 1:29 into the hockey game, Mac Jansen whacked a loose puck forward to Columbus captain Josh Pietrantonio who pulled it in in stride, going all the way to the goal and finding the tight empty space between the crossbar and Kelley's left shoulder to put the visitors out to an early 1-0 lead. Despite a large number of chances and plenty of shots to go around, that would be the lone goal of the first frame and the one goal Columbus advantage stuck heading to the 2nd.
Jonny Ruiz evened the game up 1-1 just 16 seconds into the middle period, tipping a Kyler Matthews slap-shot just past Jared Rutledge through traffic. Columbus answered only:23 later to take the lead back. Josh Pietrantonio circled the cage and fed on to Mac Jansen who deked out Kelley to pot his second goal of the series and the team's second of the game with the score now 2-1 River Dragons. In the aftermath of a strong offensive push, the Enforcers were rewarded. A couple of high danger chances wouldn't go until Ruiz caught Rutledge watching, going opposite side of the ice to Tyler Gjurich on the right post, and the rubber found its way in to tie the game up 2-2 11:23 into the middle period.
On the lone penalty called in the first forty minutes, Columbus cashed in to jump back on top. Vojtech Zemlicka dished one to Jake Schultz and a long slap shot
fired at the goal found its way by Kelley with 16:09 gone in the period to give the visitors another one-goal advantage, 3-2. 14 seconds later, Jonny Ruiz answered back with his second goal of the evening. He spinned Kyler Matthews' long forehand shot past the Columbus goaltender to knot the score at 3-3.
The 3rd period went on quietly as neither team was able to cash in and the game headed into a full-out 5-on-5 overtime battle to determine who would take the finale of the weekend.
A tense frame of overtime rolled on without either side being able to cash in and find the winning tally so the 3-3 deadlock rolled in to a second extra period.
Josh Pietrantonio grabbed the game-winning goal on a hard wrist shot from beyond the left-wing circle just 4:03 into OT2 to give Columbus a 4-3 victory and a 2-0 series lead much to the dismay of Elmira.
Dillon Kelley turned aside 48 of 52 in the double overtime loss.
The Elmira Enforcers return to the ice down at the Columbus (GA) Civic Center for Game #3 of the best 3-of-5 Ignite Cup series vs the RIver Dragons on Friday, April 30th at 7:35pm. Catch all the action live on YouTube and Mixlr with the voice of the Enforcers, Jon Kliment.v