Game Recaps 11/25/23


Tyler Gjurich Creates 300 Goal Club, River Sharks Fall 7-2

by Jon Kliment

Elmira, NY, - Motor City overcame home ice advantage on Friday night to beat Elmira 3-2 in the First Arena and the River Sharks went fishing for answers adding a defenseman and their all time FPHL leading goal scoring head coach to their lineup. 

The Rockers came out strong against Elmira having Scott Coash, Declan Conway, Brad Reitter, and Jonathan Juliano all found the back of the net in the first period running Spencer Kozlowski from the game giving way to Brandon Collett his first professional appearance. Unfortunately Josh Colten welcomed Collett to the game putting another behind an Elmira goaltender making it 5-0 after one period. 

Conway kicked off the second period expanding the lead as he scored on Collett, but a faceoff win by Steven Klinck gave an opportunity to Frank Trazzera to get to the slot and bury one. past Ricardo Gonzalez to close the gap to 6-1. Pavel Svintsov responded 21 seconds later to make it 7-1. 

Never before in the FPHL had any single scorer breached 300 goals, but as Coach Tyler Gjuich picked his shot into an empty cage burying it for his 300th goal of his career he created a brand new club. Gjurich's power play goal made it 7-2, but despite have a major penalty advantage the River Sharks couldn't find the back of the net again.

Kozlowski stopped 6 of 10 in the loss, while Collett stopped 15 of 18.

The River Sharks are on the road in Binghamton next Friday night for a 7pm start. Join us on Youtube or Mixlr for all the River Sharks action all season long. #FeartheFin 

Motor City's Efficient Offense Carries Rockers to 7-2 Win over Elmira

by Ben Szilagy

Elmira, NY, - It took the Motor City Rocker offense a period to explode against the Elmira RiverSharks on Friday night. 

But on Saturday, the Rockers turned the offense up to eleven immediately after puck drop beating Elmira 7-2 win at First Arena. 

The first ten minutes was an all out blitzkrieg across three lines as the Rockers had five goals from five different goal scorers in the first ten minutes of play. 

The first goal came off the stick of Scott Coash, who scored twice on Friday night with 2:50 into the first period when he picked up a chipped puck from Jaime Milam. Coash walked the puck into the offensive zone and fired a quick wrister topshelf stick side for a 1-0 lead.

Declan Conway earned his first goal in three games when he created a turnover at center ice and created a 2-on-1. Instead of passing the puck, Conway fired the puck in the same spot as Coash for a 2-0 lead 5:00 into the first period.

Shortly thereafter Brad Reitter put his personal touch with his second of the season with 13:20 remaining in the period when Pavel Svintsov found Danny Vanderwiel on a stretch pass that created another 2-on-1. Vanderwiel carried the puck deep and centered it to Reitter for a 3-0 lead. 

As Elmira served a hooking minor, the Rockers went to work with its special teams.

On the ensuing face-off draw, Vanderwiel slid the puck to Milam along the point where Milam fired a hard shot on net. The puck caromed in between the hashes where Jonathan Juliano chipped at it for his third of the season, and first goal on the road this year and a 4-0 lead. 

That was enough to chase starting goaltender Spencer Kozlowski out of his spot in net and he was replaced by Elmira backup Brandon Collett. Soon after, Josh Colten extended the lead, 5-0, when he scored his second of the season from the nearside circle. 

Motor City extended its lead to 6-0 off Conway’s second goal of the season before the River Sharks were able to get on the board with a goal of its own late in the second period that came off the stick off Frank Trazzera that cut into the lead 6-1.

Twenty seconds later Reitter and Svintsov played a quick game of give and go the length of the playing surface where Svintsov finished the play for his fourth of the season and a goal that ended a five game drought for the Russian for a 7-1 lead.

The River Sharks were able to get a goal in the third period off the stick of coach Tyler Gjurich that ended up being his 300th regular season goal in his career that has spanned eight seasons.

Rockers Goaltender Ricky Gonzalez picked up his second career win stopping 38 shots in net.

The Rockers will return on the road to start the month of December as it prepares to face the Danbury Hat Tricks for the first time this season on Dec 1st and 2nd at Danbury Arena. 


Binghamton Sweeps Away Danbury

by Brooks Hill

Binghamton, NY - The Binghamton Black Bears defeated the Danbury Hat Tricks 5-2 on Saturday night in front of 3,600 fans. Don Olivieri scored twice and Brenden Stanko gave the Black Bears the insurance goal they needed in the final period. 

The Black Bears started the scoring thanks to Josh Fletcher recording his 3rd goal of the season, all of which have come against the Hat Tricks. The lead was short-lived as Danbury was able to tie the game courtesy of Michael Falanga, his 1st of the year. Danbury went to the locker room outshooting Binghamton 13-9, but the game was square at 1-1. 

Binghamton reclaimed the lead early in the middle frame as Don Olivieri made a mad dash towards the net and knocked in a rebound. His 3rd goal of the season put Binghamton up 2-1. Olivieri didn’t stop there… Danbury got into penalty trouble and found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-on-3 scenario. Binghamton was able to score one time, as the rocket from Olivieri’s stick was heard around the arena. As the arena came alive, Jonny Ruiz silenced the crowd with a beautiful unassisted goal, sending Danbury to the second breakdown by one.

The third period began with back-and-forth action that didn’t see a whistle until the 16:00 mark. Even though Danbury was pushing forward to tie the game, Binghamton did a better job than last night, pushing Danbury towards the outside. Halfway through the period, Brenden Stanko scored his team-high 12th goal of the campaign, giving Binghamton a two-goal cushion. Time began to slip away from Danbury, and they vacated the net with three minutes to go. They had a few chances, but history was made with the final goal of the night. Nikita Ivashkin scored the empty net goal, marking his 100th as a Black Bear, the first player in franchise history to do so. 

Binghamton wins the game 5-2, sweeps the weekend 3-0-0, and picks up eight of the nine available points


Carolina Takes Down Columbus in Overtime, 3-2

Ford’s 100th goal wins it for Thunderbirds

by Brendan Reilly

Winston-Salem, NC - Trailing in the third period for the second night in a row against the Columbus River Dragons, the Carolina Thunderbirds found a late goal to force overtime, and 41 seconds into the extra frame, reigning FPHL MVP Gus Ford beat Talor Joseph to take two points from Columbus, 3-2. 


Carolina (8-2-0) returned home to the Annex in front of another sold out crowd in Winston-Salem and took an early lead in the first. On the power play, Petr Panacek was left open for a tap-in goal on a centering pass from Jiri Pestuka giving the Thunderbirds a 1-0 advantage after the first 20 minutes.


In the second period, Columbus (7-1-2) answered. At the 9:12 mark of the middle period, Ryan Hunter snapped one over Mario Cavaliere’s blocker tying the game at one. As the second period wore on, Columbus with just 92 seconds remaining in the period found a tap-in of its own. Alexander Jmaeff found a pass from Cody Wickline in the crease giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage heading to the third. 


Carolina pushed for an equalizer as the third period went on, and with under five minutes remaining, the first line broke through. Dominic Dumas won a battle in the corner finding Gus Ford who snapped a pass to Dawson Baker who was left alone in the slot, rifling one past Talor Joseph, tying the game at two. Neither side could find a potential game winner over the next four minutes, and for the second night in a row, Carolina and Columbus needed overtime.


Last night, the two sides went to a shootout where the Thunderbirds picked up the two points. On Saturday night, Ford ended the game quickly. Ford worked his way behind Joseph’s net and walked out in front of the crease pushing the game winner past Joseph just 41 seconds into overtime for his 100th regular season goal of his FPHL career and winning it for Carolina, 3-2. 


Ford was named the 1st star with a goal and assist on the evening with Baker earning the 2nd star. Carolina netminder Mario Cavaliere was named the 3rd star stopping 33 of 35 shots he saw.


The Thunderbirds return to action on Friday evening at home against the Port Huron Prowlers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Annex.  

Carolina Takes the Weekend Series over River Dragons

by Tom Callahan

Winston-Salem, NC -  For the second straight night, the Columbus River Dragons and Carolina Thunderbirds needed extra time to settle things. This time it was Gus Ford scoring 42 seconds into overtime to give the Thunderbirds a 3-2 win at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex.

After Carolina took a 1-0 lead into the second period, the River Dragons scored a pair of goals to pull ahead after 40 minutes. Ryan Hunter notched his first professional goal at 9:12 of the second period with a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Thunderbirds goaltender Mario Cavaliere (33 saves). Then at 18:28 Alexander Jmaeff knocked a Cody Wickline pass out of the air for his team-leading eighth goal of the season to give Columbus the lead.

As they did the night before, Carolina rallied to tie the game and send it past regulation. Dawson Baker found space alone in the slot and Ford fed him for the equalizer at 15:29.

In OT Columbus started with possession but could not manage a shot on goal before Ford scored on a wraparound past the outstretched left pad of Talor Joseph (31 saves) to give Carolina the extra point.

The River Dragons will now head to Wytheville, VA to battle the Blue Ridge Bobcats December 1 and 2 before returning home for games December 8 and 9 against the Mississippi Sea Wolves. Friday night is a mascot birthday bash for Scorch and Torch while Saturday is the River Dragons Fifth Anniversary celebration! Tickets are on sale now through the Columbus Civic Center Box Office and online at


Prowlers Double Up Sea Wolves

by Matthew Hoard

Biloxi, MS - An energetic Mississippi Coast show out to support the Mississippi Sea Wolves (5-1-1-5) drop game two 6-3 to the visiting Port Huron Prowlers (4-1-1-4) on a Saturday night in Biloxi. 

The Prowlers struck first with a backdoor goal by Liam Freeborn to open up the scoring. The Sea Wolves roared back in the first period with goals from Hugo Koch and Joakim Nilsson as the Sea Wolves took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play. 

A chippy second period would lead to penalties racking up for the Sea Wolves creating many opportunities for the Prowlers. The Prowlers would add three goals in the second period, two by Tucker Scantlebury and one by Brandon Picard. At the second intermission the Prowlers led the Sea Wolves 4-2. 

The Sea Wolves would put themselves in an opportunity to make a comeback in the third period with a goal by Joakim Nilsson but it would not be in the cards as the Prowlers would stop the scoring there. Port Huron would add two more goals with an empty net goal by Tucker Scantlebury, for the hat trick and a goal from Liam Freeborn. This would finish a very chippy game with a final score of 6-3 in favor of the Prowlers Makar Sokolov stopped 23 of 26 shots for Port Huron in their win, his third of the year. Joseph Sheppard turned aside 26 of 31 shots for the Sea Wolves in the loss, bringing him to 4-4 on the year. 

The Sea Wolves will begin a 5 game road trip in Baton Rouge on Friday, December 1st to battle the Zydeco


by Will Wiegelman

Biloxi, MS Tucker Scantlebury’s hat trick led the Port Huron Prowlers to a 6-3 victory over the Mississippi Sea Wolves on Nov. 25 to salvage a weekend split in Biloxi. Both Scantlebury and Liam Freeborn finished with four-point nights.

Freeborn opened the scoring less than five minutes in, set up by tic-tac-toe passing from Dalton Young and Brandon Picard. Hugo Koch tied things up with a power play goal and Joakim Nilsson increased his stranglehold on the league lead in goals with his 12th of the year.

Scantlebury found the back of the net on a Port Huron power play in the second, stepping into a wrist shot from the faceoff circle. Evan Foley found Picard all alone driving the net later in the period and he put home his team-high sixth of the season to give the Prowlers a 3-2 lead. Scantlebury struck again on the power play with just over two minutes to go in the frame to give his team a two-goal advantage heading into the third.

Nilsson brought the Sea Wolves back within one with under five minutes to play, but Scantlebury completed the hat trick into the empty net to seal the deal. After some penalties in the final minute, Scantlebury found Freeborn for one more with 27 seconds left.

Scantlebury finished with the first Prowlers hat trick since Freeborn did it in Watertown on April 8 of last season plus an assist. Freeborn added two goals and two helpers. Picard had a goal and an assist while Alex Johnson and Davide Gaeta dished out two assists apiece. Makar Sokolov made 23 saves to move to 3-0-0 on the season.

Nilsson’s two goals led the way for Mississippi while Joseph Sheppard made 26 saves in the loss.

The Prowlers travel to Winston-Salem to visit the Carolina Thunderbirds on Dec. 1, 2 and 3. All of those games will be available live on the PHP Network YouTube channel.


Bobcats Nip Zydeco

by Lily Gayle

Baton Rouge, LA, - The Baton Rouge Zydeco fell to the Blue Ridge Bobcats 3-2 in Saturday night’s game in a surprise goal in the last eight seconds of the game. 

Baton Rouge Zydeco ( 1-9) had a massive night Friday night against the Wytheville Bobcats, winning in an overtime match up and a hat trick by Austin Weber. It looked like it was going to go the same way Saturday as Baton Rouge had the first goal of the game by Noah Robinson with 3:37 left in the first period. 

In the second period, Zydeco maintained defensive pressure and had great puck possession, resulting in a goal by Brendan Hussey that was assisted by Matthew Bazarin. That goal upped the lead 2-1 and gave Zydeco the longest leading streak in Zydeco history at 34 minutes. It wouldn’t last much longer as David Nicoletti shot one into the net with an assist from Kyle Stevens and Dominik Montonak. The second period ending 2-1, Zydeco leading. 

The last period ended up being the downfall of Baton Rouge as Cody Oakes netted the puck within the first ten minutes of the period. Matonak sealed the fate for Zydeco with a goal with eight seconds left on the clock. The final score being 3-2, Bobcats take the win in the Raising Canes River Center. 

The next series will be Dec. 1st and 2nd in Baton Rouge versus the Mississippi Seawolves, Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Raising Canes River Center.