Game Recaps 1/5/24


River Sharks Fall to Hat Tricks, 6-1

by Jon Kliment

Elmira, NY - Elmira looked to kick off another River Sharks winning streak coming up with a big win on the New Years eve and needing points against a team higher up the board. 

Though the first period was a back and forth affair it was Elmira alumni Jonny Ruiz who found the back of the net first with just 44 seconds to go. 

Danbury would use their momentum to keep the pressure on Elmira as Ruiz netted his second and Connor Wooley added another give Danbury a 3-0 advantage. However Elmira was not giving up as Martin Moucha completed a wrap around to bring the Sharks back to within 2 at 3-1 off the backside of Connor McCollum. A late period scrap between returning Captain Stavros Soilis and Josh Labelle set up for an interesting third. 

Despite the captain dropping the gloves Elmira still couldn't seem to find their game as Corey Cunningham scored for Danbury before Ruiz finished off his hat trick on a shorthanded chance to make it 5-1 and Zachary Pamaylaon finished it off at 6-1. 

Sammy Bernard stopped 34 of 40 in the loss.

The River Sharks head out on the road to Columbus next Friday at 7:30pm. Follow along on Mixlr and Youtube for all the action! #FeartheFin


by Doug Lattuca

Elmira, NY -  The Hat Tricks, on the backs of four-point efforts from forwards Jonny Ruiz and Corey Cunningham, extended their winning streak to three on Friday night in Elmira with a 6-1 victory over the River Sharks. The Hat Tricks scored the first three and last three goals of the game.

Ruiz had a hat trick, the first one by a Hat Trick since Bohdan Zinchenko on Nov. 11 in Elmira. Cunningham got his revenge over the River Sharks notching four points (1g, 3a). It’s Cunningham's first points since returning from suspension on Dec 3, the suspension stemming from an incident that occurred in Elmira on Dec 16.

The first period was defined by great defensive play on both sides. However, with under a minute to go, the Hat Tricks got the game's first goal. Ruiz sniped a wrister from the slot under the blocker of Elmira netminder Sammy Bernard to give the Hat Tricks a 1-0 lead. 

At 13:01 into the second period, the Captain fired the puck into the back of the net from the short side for his second goal of the game. Moments later, the Hat Tricks extended their lead when forward Connor Woolley shoveled the puck under Bernard, giving the Hat Tricks a three goal advantage. Since returning to the Hat Tricks on Dec. 22, Woolley has recorded a point in five straight games, tallying eight points (4g, 4a) during that stretch. 

At 16:37, the River Sharks broke up the shutout. Forward Martin Moucha snuck the puck under Hat Tricks goaltender Connor McCollum’s pad to cut the Hat Tricks lead to two. Moucha, who spent two seasons in Danbury as a member of the Whalers, now has points in back-to-back games. 

The Hat Tricks continued their offensive dominance scoring three in the third period. At 6:44, Cunnigham weaved through two Elmira defenders and backhanded the puck in from the right side. Moments later, Nick DiNicola received a double minor for high sticking, leaving the Hat Tricks down a man. It was not a problem as at 10:05 Ruiz roofed the puck under the bar, completing the hat trick. At 10:41, the Hat Tricks took advantage of their own power play when Zach Pamalayon’s point shot was deflected by DiNicola and into the back of the net to extend the lead to five. 

The Hat Tricks are back in action Saturday, Jan. 6 when they travel to Watertown to take on the Wolves. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm. 


Motor City Down Wolves in OT

by Jeff Barrett

Watertown, NY - For just the third time this season the Motor City Rockers and Watertown Wolves would square off in FPHL action on this Friday evening. And just like the previous two meetings, this one took place in the Watertown Municipal Arena. The Wolves won both of the earlier season matchups with the Rockers.

The first twenty minutes of play was an up and down affair with each team getting a fair amount of good looks at the goal with Motor City outshooting Watertown 19 to 10, but the Rockers netminder Ricardo Gonzalez and Watertown's Josh Rosenzweig were up to the challenge keeping the score at zeros through the first period.

At 2:34 of the second, Watertown's Josh Tomasi would break the scoreless tie when he was able to lift a shot from the left side circle over the blocker of Gonzalez for his fourth goal of the year, giving the Wolves the 1-0 lead. Marc Bottero and William Godnbout were both credited with assists on the goal.

The Rockers' TJ Sneath would knot that game at 1 each on a beautiful redirect on a shot from the high slot area from Declan Conway at 10:25, for his 8th goal of the season. Pavel Svintsov would also get credited with an assist.

But just over a minute later, Watertown would jump right back into the lead on a Chiwetin Blacksmith goal as he was able to just race down the right hand side and then drive to the front of the goal and beat Gonzalez at the 11:50 mark giving the Wolves a 2-1 lead. Dustin Henning would get the helper on the goal.

At the 12:23 mark Chase DiBari was able to get loose in front of the Rockers goal on a pass from Blacksmith, and slid the puck through Gonzalez's five hole, extending the Wolves lead to 3-1. Also credited with an assist was Mike Mecurio.

Adam Kuhn added a powerplay goal for the Rockers to cut the score to 3-2 at the 17:24 point of the period as he got free in front of the Watertown goal and stuffed one under Rosenzweig to get Motor City back within one.

The second period ended with that score, with Watertown out shooting Motor City 16 to 9 in the frame.

Period number three again was a back and forth contest with each team getting quality scoring chances, but it took until the 15:21 mark before the goal lamp lit up once again. This time it was Motor City's TJ Delaney netting the second power play goal of the night for the Rockers knotting the game at 3-3. Josh Colton with the assist. For Delaney that was goal number 10 on the season.

Regulation time would end at 3-3 sending the game to overtime. The Rockers outshot the Wolves 17 to 10 in the third.

At 2:35 of the overtime the Motor City Rockers completed the comeback when Jameson Milam lifted a rebound over a sprawling Rosenzweig, with an assist from Roman Gaudet.

Total shots on goal for the evening would be 47 to 37 in favor of Watertown.

The Wolves will be home again on Saturday evening as they host the Danbury Hat Tricks at 730, while the Rockers will head two hours south in New York State to take on the Binghamton Black Bears at 7:00

Rockers Erase Two Goal Lead, Tame Wolves With 4-3 OT Win

by Ben Szilagy

Watertown, NY - The Motor City Rockers offense struggled to get going on Friday night, but it found a way to stop chasing goals and earn and overtime win on Friday night against the Wolves.

It was the first win of the season against the Wolves for Motor City. 

Both teams skated to a scoreless tie in the first period before the Wolves jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second period. 

Watertown forward Marc Bottero walked the puck from the d-zone into the offensive end. A poke check from the Rockers left the puck in the circle where Joshua Tomasi backhanded the rubber disc past Ricky Gonzalez for the first lead of the game 2:34 into the middle frame.

Motor City was struggling to find its offense but got an opportunity to tie the score, 1-1, when Declan Conway fired a shot from the point that was deflected in front by TJ Sneath for his third straight game with a goal midway through the second. 

Sneath now has a point in eight of his first nine games in Motor City. 

Watertown’s Chiwetin Blacksmith picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and worked his way into the Rockers’ end. As he entered the right circle Blacksmith offered a power move towards the goal and fired a shot for a 2-1 lead two minutes later. 

The Wolves extended the lead when Blacksmith chipped the puck ahead to Chase DiBari as he slipped behind the Rocker defense for his sixth goal of the season and a dominating two goal lead, 3-1 with 7:37 to play.

The best power play in the league helped Motor City stay in the game when Josh Colten carried the puck into the zone and centered it to Adam Kuhn for a prime scoring opportunity in between the hashes. Kuhn buried the shot to cut into the lead 3-2 for his first PPG of the season with 2:36 to play in the second period.

Another Rockers power play Colten fired the puck from the outside that was initially saved. Kuhn slid the puck toward a sprawled Josh Rosenzweig that went through his five-hole. TJ Delaney picked up the puck in the crease and put it in the net for a tying goal 3-3 with 4:37 remaining in the third period.

Motor City earned the win when Roman Gaudet settled the puck down in the Rockers end, and gave an outlet pass to Jameson Milam. Milam quickly attacked the offensive zone and followed up his own shot in overtime and just beat a sprawling Rosenzweig for his first GWG of the year and a 4-3 win.

Ricky Gonzalez earned the start and stopped 44 out of 47 shots. Rosenzweig stopped 33 of 37.

The Rockers will travel to Binghamton to take on the Black Bears for the first time this season as Motor City looks to continue to chip into the Black Bears’ Empire Division lead. The puck drop is at 7:05pm.


MacDonald Leads River Dragons to 4-2 Victory ove Bobcats

by Tom Callahan

Columbus, GA - Justin MacDonald recorded his 300th FPHL point as part of a two assist game to help the Columbus River Dragons top the Blue Ridge Bobcats 4-2 on Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

MacDonald reached his milestone on the game’s first goal, scored by Austin Daae at 9:37 of the second period to give Columbus a 1-0 lead. The River Dragons would score three times in a span of just 4:28 to jump ahead 3-0 by the second intermission.

In the third, Blue Ridge rallied. Former River Dragon Ricards Jelenskis scored his first in a Bobcats uniform just 1:28 into the third, followed at 6:32 by a Savva Smirnov marker to close the lead to 3-2.

The Bobcats continued to press, but were unable to tie the game before pulling goaltender Owen Liskiewicz (33 saves) for the extra attacker. 

With the goaltender out Alexander Jmaeff notched his 20th of the season into an empty net with just over 10 seconds remaining to cement the win.


  • MacDonald is now two points away from 600 as a pro.
  • With his two assists, MacDonald is now on a team season-high 11-game point streak (8-13-21) and a team season-high eight-game assist streak.
  • Jmaeff is the first River Dragons player to reach the 20-goal plateau this season.
  • Columbus is now 4-0 against Blue Ridge this season.
  • The River Dragons become the second team in the FPHL to hit the 50-point plateau this season with the regulation win.

The same two teams go back at it tomorrow night at 7:05 pm ET. Tickets are on sale now for all remaining River Dragons home games online at


by Brett Wiseman

Columbus, GA - The Blue Ridge Bobcats finally broke their scoreless drought and came out of the holiday break with one of their strongest performances to date, taking the Columbus River Dragons to the brink. The Dragons held on for a 4-2 win, but as the game went on, the new-look Bobcats seemed to begin connecting on all cylinders. 

Owen Liskiewicz made his Bobcats debut in goal, and did everything he could and more. Liskiewicz stopped 34 of the 37 shots he faced. The goals that beat him all came in the second period. Justin MacDonald's 300th career FPHL point was an assist to Austin Daae on a backdoor tap-in goal. The second goal came after the Bobcats were stonewalled off multiple chances in front of Brendan Colgan, and a classic Columbus Civic Center funky puck bounce created a 2-on-0 break that Alex Storjohann converted on. Carson Andreoli added the third marker late in the middle frame.

Blue Ridge came out with guns blazing, showing heart, grit and determination for the entire final 20 minutes.

Ricards Jelenskis, also making his Blue Ridge debut, ripped home a wrist shot to the far side of Colgan from outside the faceoff dot for his first goal as a Bobcat to break a team-long 8-plus period scoreless drought just 85 seconds into the final frame. For once, the puck bounced the Bobcats way and created a breakaway for Savva Smirnov, which he converted on to cut the lead to one at 3-2 at the 6:36 mark of the 3rd. Alexander Jmaeff sealed the win with an empty netter at the 19:50 mark of regulation.

Hunter Hall, Jakub Volf and Danny Martin each picked up their 8th assists off the season respectively on both of Blue Ridge's third period goals, Gehrig Lindberg picked up his first career FPHL apple on Jelenskis' goal.

Both teams are back at it tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. BobcatsTV pregame coverage begins at 6:50 PM.


Koepplinger Wins it for Carolina in Overtime, 2-1

Thunderbirds rally late, pick up two points over Port Huron

by Brendan Reilly

Winston-Salem, NC - After trailing for the first 50 minutes, Josh Koepplinger found a goal in the 3rd period to tie the game and then win it for the Carolina Thunderbirds, 2-1, in overtime against the Port Huron Prowlers Friday night at the Annex.


Port Huron (10-10-4) came out fast putting pressure on Carolina (18-5-0) early, and towards the end of the 1st period, Austin Fetterly beat Thunderbirds goalie Frankie McClendon giving the visitors the 1-0 advantage heading to the 1st intermission. 


In the 2nd period, both netminders continued to shine. McClendon and Port Huron goalie, Makar Sokolov, put on a show in the middle 20 minutes, going save-for-save, as the Thunderbirds could not beat Sokolov and went to the 3rd period trailing, 1-0.


After an early penalty against Carolina and spending most of the time in its own defensive zone, with nearly nine minutes remaining, Josh Koepplinger battled to the left of the net and scored on a rebound chance, tying the game at one with 9:03 remaining. The Thunderbirds had multiple chances late but could not find a winner in regulation and the two sides went to overtime for the second time this season.


With just over two minutes gone in overtime, Koepplinger, who was playing in only his third game this season, walked up the far side of the ice and ripped a snapshot past Sokolov sending the Annex into a frenzy and taking a 2-1 victory in overtime. 


In the win, Gus Ford was named the 3rd star with an assist while Frankie McClendon picked up 2nd star honors saving 40 out of 41 shots on the night. Koepplinger was named 1st star with the two goals for the Thunderbirds. 


Carolina and Port Huron meet for the final time in the regular season on Saturday. Puck drop is slated for 6:05 p.m. from Winston-Salem. 



by Will Wiegelman

Winston-Salem, NC - The Port Huron Prowlers dropped a heartbreaker to the Carolina Thunderbirds 2-1 in overtime at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex on Jan. 5. Josh Koepplinger tied the game in the third and won it in overtime.

“It was a good game,” said Prowlers assistant coach Chris Paulin. “Tough loss, we have to be ready for tomorrow.”

Austin Fetterly opened the scoring with a snipe over Frankie McClendon’s glove hand late in the first. That 1-0 lead held until the third thanks in large part to McClendon and Makar Sokolov in goal.

Carolina broke through midway through the final frame of regulation as a shot was knocked down in the crease and Koepplinger was able to jam it home to tie the score. That sent the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Koepplinger found space down the right wing side and picked the corner over Sokolov’s blocker for the game winner just over three minutes in.

“There was a little bit of a miscommunication,” Paulin said. “ They made a good shot and the game ended. That’s it.”

Sokolov made 43 saves while Alex Johnson and Liam Freeborn picked up assists in the loss.

“I thought [Sokolov] played great, he gave us every chance to win,” Paulin said. “I thought he battled hard. Some of the things we’ve been working on in practice, I thought he did really well and, ultimately, we were just one save away.”

Koepplinger was the first star of the game while Justin Bioni added two assists. Gus Ford got third-star honors with one helper and McClendon was the game’s second star after a 40-save performance.

These teams will battle for the sixth and final time this regular season on Jan. 6 with puck drop in Winston-Salem set for 6:05 P.M. The game will be broadcast live on the PHP Network YouTube channel.



Kuznetsov, Stoia tally goals in third for Mississippi to snap skid

by Javik Blake

Biloxi, MS -  Matt Stoia barreled home a slap shot and Dmitry Kuznetsov followed suit for two third-period goals in a 4-3 comeback win for the Mississippi Sea Wolves (9-2-1-13) over the Baton Rouge Zydeco (5-1-2-15) at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Friday night. The win was Mississippi’s seventh in 10 games against the Zydeco in 2023/24 and snapped a two-game losing streak.


Kyle Stevens opened the scoring at the midway mark of the first period, giving the Zydeco a 1-0 lead. However, the Sea Wolves struck back in the second with two unanswered goals from Danny Liscio and Philip Wong. Wong’s goal, on the power-play, was Mississippi’s 20th of the season. After a double-minor late in the period, the Zydeco tied the game at two with a power play goal from Don Carter Jr. and took the lead 33 seconds later on a goal from Mathias Tellstrom, giving the Zydeco a 3-2 lead.


In the third, Matt Stoia tallied his first goal in a Sea Wolves uniform with a one-time slap shot on the power play, tying the game at three. Dmitry Kuznetsov then gave the Sea Wolves the lead with a shot that knocked the water bottle off the goal at the midway mark of the period.


The Sea Wolves then killed off a roughing minor with 45 seconds to go, earning their ninth regulation win of the year. With the win, the Sea Wolves tied the Port Huron Prowlers for third place in the Continental Division with 32 points.


Mississippi continues their stretch of three games in three nights at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum against the Zydeco. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.