Vartiainen, Fetterly Carry Port Huron to 6-3 Win over Motor City

by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - The Motor City Rockers are in its worst stretch of the season since the season started in early October.

Entering Friday night, the Rockers hadn’t earned a point in over 145 minutes, and were riding a three game losing streak. To make matters worse, it was without starting goaltender Trevor Babin who entered concussion protocol earlier this week after taking a puck to the head. 

It was the first time Babin missed action since late November. The Rockers were also without Derek Makimaa who is serving a two game suspension. 

The House of Horrors of Friday the 13th followed Motor City into 2023 as the Rockers dropped its fourth straight game with a 6-3 loss to Port Huron at Big Boy Arena. 

The Prowlers (17-11-3) opened the scoring a minute into the first period as veteran Larri Vartiainen opened the scoring on a floating rebound in the slot for his 14th of the season for a 1-0 lead. 

Motor City (14-10-3) were able to get the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead. The first goal was off the stick of Declan Conway who stopped the puck in the neutral zone and created a semi-breakaway with an offensive rush and put in his first goal since Dec 16th stopping a five game drought. 

The goal stopped the scoring drought Motor City was facing at 150 minutes. 

Jonathan Juliano added the second goal five minutes later when he deflected a Tim Perks shot in front of the net for his sixth goal of the season. 

From there Port Huron regained a lead it wouldn’t give up as Austin Fetterly added a rebound goal and a hard wrister a minute apart for a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period. 

Vartiainen added his second of the game entering the third period with a shot through the five-hole of Blake Scott for a 4-2 lead. 

Motor City pulled Scott in the final 2:28 to create any hopes of completing a comeback and was within a goal thanks to a goal by Everett Thompson who banged in a one-timer from Ian White to pull the Rockers within one, 4-3.

An ill-timed penalty with under two minutes remaining allowed the Prowlers to earn a power play goal by Sam Marit for a 5-3 lead. 

Liam Freeborn added an empty net goal with six seconds remaining for a 6-3 lead. 

With the win, the Prowers have moved within a game of the season series, trailing Motor City 5-4 after nine games. Port Huron will host Motor City on Saturday at 6:05pm at McMorran Ice Arena in Port Huron. 



by Brett Wiseman

Winston-Salem, NC.- The message was simple. Not In Our House. The best team in the FPHL came into the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex, and were greeted with a sea of red and a barrage of Thunderbirds goals in an 8-2 Carolina win over the vaunted Columbus River Dragons.

Breandan Colgan rode his 4 game shutout streak into this one for Columbus. His league record run was just stopped, it was shattered.

Petr Panacek opened the scoring by jamming one in down low at the 11:46 mark of the first period. That was just the start for the Thunderbirds.

Josh Koepplinger wasted no time following up, sniping one home up high just 17 seconds after Panacek's marker. Jan Salak finished the first period onslaught with a marker of his own.

Blake Peavey opened the scoring in the second off a rebound from a Justin Bioni shot. Gus Ford and John Buttitta each added a goal and two assists later on, earning first and second star honors respectively. Jiri Pestuka and Jacob Schnapp added the final two goals of the night for Carolina.

Mario Cavaliere was sensational in net, stopping 29 of 31 shots in net.

The Thunderbirds will round out the weekend and host the River Dragons once more Saturday night, before heading south to face them in Columbus twice next weekend.


Sea Wolves Knock Off Hat Tricks 3-2

by Nick Roesch

Biloxi, MS - The (4-21-3) Mississippi Sea Wolves triumphed in their first home game of the 2023 calendar year on Friday night, defeating the (21-2-3) Danbury Hat Tricks 3-2 in a shootout at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. 

On a foot race to center ice, Jake Raleigh won the puck for the Sea Wolves and buried his shot for a 1-0 Mississippi lead 10:26 into the game. The lone assist was credited to Trevor Finch after he created the initial clearance. 

The Sea Wolves added onto the lead after just 47 seconds of the second period on a pointblank shot from Yaroslav Yevdokimov. Yianni Liarakos gained the zone for Mississippi before locating Yevdokimov on the side of the cage. 

Danbury began finding more time on offensive ice before the Hat Tricks’ Brendan Dowler blistered in a shot 6:44 into the middle frame to make it a 2-1 game. Former Sea Wolf Daniel McKitrick earned an assist in his first game back at the Coliseum. 

During the third period, with a loose puck in the near circle, Dmitri Kuznutsov (6:05) ripped a chance past Sea Wolves goaltender Blake Weyrick and tied the action at two apiece. The final twenty minutes saw tensions substantially rise with the teams combining for 65 penalty minutes. 

Despite being down for three and a half minutes of overtime, Mississippi weathered the storm and stayed alive behind a great showing from Weyrick. The action required a shootout to determine the winner. McKitrick potted his attempt for the Hat Tricks before the Sea Wolves struck back to win 3-2 with conversions from Liarakos and Matt Caranci. 

The Sea Wolves and Hat Tricks will pick up where they left off tomorrow night with the series finale at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Puck drop is slated for 7:05pm CST and tickets can be purchased on or in person at the Coliseum box office.


Black Bears Dominate Wolves, 6-2

by Jeff Barrett

Watertown, NY.- The sixth meeting between the two teams this season and the second time in Watertown, this time on Friday the 13th. The Black Bears winning 4 out of 5 of the previous contests. 

It wouldn't take long for the visitors to strike first. Just 2:41 into the opening frame, Nikita Ivashkin lit the lamp assisted by Josh Newberg making it 1-0 Black Bears. 2 minutes and 59 seconds later Tyler Gjurich would extend Binghamton's lead 2-0 on a blast from the left faceoff circle, assisted by Gavin Yates.

 At the 11:28 mark, the Wolves had their best chance of the period when Elijah Wilson was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on the way to the goal, But Wilson was denied by Black Bears starter Jeremie Forget, who was able to get his skate in front of the shot.  The scoring spree continued for the Black Bears when Gavin Yates received a crossing pass from Cameron Yarwood and Tyson Kirkby at 15:09, and was able to tip it over the shoulder of Wolves starter Travis Smith. That would bring gthe end of tghe night for Smith as Greg Hussey would come in for relief. Nikita Ivashkin added his second goal of the night at the19:24 mark giving the Black Bears a 4-0 lead to take to the locker room after 20 minutes of play. 

 7:20 into period number two the Black Bears continued to pour in the goals when Mac Lewis dented the back of the net, assisted by Cameron Yarwood and Tyler Gjurich. Recently added to the roster for Binghamton, Chad Lopez scored his first goal as as a Black Bear at 13:50 extending the lead for the visitors to 6-0. Watertown ended up out shooting Binghamton 11 to 9, but were unable to convert in the period. 

The Wolves were able to finally break the ice at 7:53 of the third when Jackson Bond sniped home a shot from the left side, assisted by Elijah Wilson and John Amanatidis making the score 6-1. At 10:24 of the third, the Wolves were able to cut further into the Black Bears lead on a Chase DiBari power play goal with Elijah Wilson and Brendan Hussey getting credited with assist. With the score now 6-2, Binghamton would fight off a series of Watertown rushes into the offensive end to hold on for the win. 

Watertown ends up outshooting Binghamton 40 to 34 for the game. The Black Bears went 2 for 5 on power play opportunities, with the Wolves going 1 for 9.

Both teams travel to Binghamton for the second tilt of the weekend on Saturday Night. 


Elmira Outlast Delaware in Game One Of Two 

by Gradon Motter

Harrington, DE.-The First period was a even contest as Harley White and Trevor Martin each came out of the period with a 0-0 game.

In the Second period the scoring got going with Delawares Rasmus Asp redirect goal on the Thunder Power Play. Later in the period Elmira would respond with a Chris Hunt goal to go in the 2nd intermission tied 1-1.

The 3rd period was a heart breaker for Delaware as Elmira would take the lead late thanks to the Elmira point leader Tate Leeson. Elmira would end up winning the game 2-1.

Delaware plays Elmira Saturday night at the Thunderdome for First Responders Night. Puck drop is 7PM