GAME RECAPS 12/17/22


  Carolina Rides Strong First Period To Beat Motor City 5-2

by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - After losing to Motor City last night, the Carolina Thunderbirds were looking to take away three points back to the east coast. 

The Thunderbirds were able to get back into the win column with a 5-2 win over the Rockers at Big Boy Arena on Saturday night.

Just like on Friday, Carolina (11-6-1) jumped out on the Motor City early and never looked back thanks to three goals in the third period. 

Motor City tried clearing the puck in out of the d-zone but Gus Ford charged the blue line and fired a hard shot toward the net. Josh Koepplinger was able to deflect it into the goal for the first goal of the game with 17:35 left to play in the first. 

Seven minutes later Koepplinger struck again for his second goal of the game.

After Lucas Rowe moved the puck from the nearside corner, the man from Saginaw kept the puck into the zone. Koepplinger dangled around a defender and into the slot and fired in the puck for a 2-0 lead with 10:36 to play in the first period. 

Koepplinger kept the offense going later in the first as he settled the puck down in the neutral zone and offered a quick pass to a charging Blake Peavy. As he entered the zone he offered a quick one-timer to Lucas Rowe who buried it for his 13th of the season and 3-0 lead.

The second period belonged to the Rockers (13-6-3) as its offense began to hit its stride. 

Roman Gaudet moved the puck inside the offensive zone after he received a pass from Dylan Johnson. Gaudet offered a centering pass to Derek Makimma who was able to bury the puck to cut into the Thunderbird lead 3-1 1:24 into the 2nd. 

Johnson kept his point streak alive at seven games with his assist. 

Six minutes later and unlikely hero Jonathan Juliano was falling to the ice. As he lost his balance, Juliano was able to get his stick on the puck and lift it past Cavaliere for his fourth of the season to make it 3-2.

Carolina’s defense shut down the Rockers offense the rest of the way, including earning seven penalty kills on the night after surrendering two power play goals on Friday night. 

The third period belonged to the Thunderbirds, just like the first period. 

Peavy was able to earn a power play goal after he wristed the puck to the farside of the net completing a quick pass from Buttitta for his third power play goal of the season. The Thunderbirds were able to earn an empty net goal by Ford with 1:37 to play in the third to cap the scoring at 5-2. 

Motor City will play a home and home against Port Huron after the Christmas Break on Dec 30th at McMorran Ice Arena and on the 31st at Big Boy Arena.


by Brett Wiseman

Fraser, MI - After consecutive nights of frustration, everything finally came together for the Carolina Thunderbirds. All phases of action, offense, defense, goaltending and special teams came together for a full 60 minutes of domination over the second place Motor City Rockers. The Thunderbirds earned the three points they desperately needed with a 5-2 victory at Big Boy Arena.

Mario Cavialere had arguably his best game in net as a Thunderbirds yet, stopping 39 of 41 Motor City shots and earning third star of the game honors.

Blake Peavey scored his second power play goal in as many nights, and also picked up the primary assist on a goal by Lucas Rowe in the first period to earn second star. Gus Ford picked up an assist and an empty net goal to add to his league lead in points after being held pointless Friday night.

The big star of the night was the Michigander himself: Josh Koepplinger. The hometown boy picked up the first two goals of the game and then the secondary assist on Rowe's goal for a three point night and first star honors.

The Thunderbirds return home to begin a three game holiday homestand, beginning Friday, December 23 against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.


Wolves Defeat Danbury in SO

by Jeff Barrett

Watertown, NY - For the first time this season the Wolves and Danbury squared off in a Saturday night match up that brought the league leading Hat Tricks to Watertown.

The first period of action brought a couple of good scoring opportunities for each team, with the Hat Tricks being the first team to put points on the board when Dmitry Kuznetsov got behind the defense on an outlet pass from Luke Richards and was able to lift a shot over the shoulder of the Wolves starting net minder Greg Hussey at 14:47 of the period making tghe score 1-0.

The Hat Tricks added to their lead just 2:23 into the second period on a Brendan Dowler goal, assisted by Conner Lind and Daniel Amesbury, making the score 2-0.

Although continuing to outshoot Danbury, it wouldn't be until the 7:49 mark of period 2 before the Wolves were able to put the puck behind Hat Tricks net minder Brian Wilson to cut the Danbury lead in half, when Trevor Lord lifted a shot over the right shoulder of Wilson off a feed from Larry Yellowknee, making it 2-1.

Matt Brown would eventually tie the game at 2 a side on a power play goal at 10:20 of the third period assisted by Shai Rabinowitz and Mathias Tellstrom. The score would remain tied late into the third when Watertown keeper Greg Hussey would be called for a double miner high sticking call, forcing the Wolves to kill off the final 1:40 of regulation play to hold onto the 2-2 tie. 

The game would go to overtime with the Wolves having to kill off the remaining 2 of the Hat Tricks power play. Hussey would be stellar in the extra five minutes with Danbury getting several decent scoring chances, and sending the game to a shootout. 

In the shootout, Michael Marchesan would go first for Danbury, dragging the puck from left to right but being denied by Hussey on the backhand try. Watertown's Mathias Tellstrom would be the first skater for Watertown, and was able to beat Wilson over the blocker side to give the Wolves a one goal lead. 

Dmitry Kuznetsov, who scored on a breakaway back in the first , was Danbury's second shooter and failed to fool Hussey, leaving the Wolves a chance to steal the win if Matt Brown could convert as Watertown's second shooter. Picking up speed quickly on he left hand side he the crossed in front of the goal and was able to beat Wilson to the far post, bringing the Wolves all the way back from a 2 goal deficit to score the win over the first place Hat Tricks. 

The Wolves outshot Danbury 41 to 20 for the game. Danbury went 0 for 6 on power play opportunities while Watertown was 1 for 7. 
The 3-2 win gives new head coach Steve Esau 2 wins in as many tries behind the bench for Watertown. 

The Wolves will travel to Binghamton on Friday the 23rd to face the Black Bears , while the Hat Tricks will head home to host the Delaware Thunder on Friday night. 

Hat Tricks Drop Shootout in Watertown

by Chris Lynch

Watertown, NY- The Danbury Hat Tricks ended their two game weekend swing with a physical matchup in Watertown against the defending Commisioner's Cup Champion Watertown Wolves. For the first time all season, the Hat Tricks were outshot heavily in every period of the game and still got the matchup into overtime, but could not complete the victory in overtime or the shootout.

Danbury jumped into the first period lead with a Dmitry Kuznetsov goal 14:47 into the first period and held that lead into the first intermission.

The Hat Tricks doubled their lead on a Brendan Dowler bomb 2:23 into the second period. Watertown answered at the 7:49 mark with a Trevor Lord goal and the score held at 2-1 into the second intermission.

Watertown tilted the ice heavily in their favor 11-3 in the third period and were rewarded for their efforts with a Matt Brown power play goal. Danbury got an extended four-on-three power play late in regulation that carried into overtime, but could not capitalize on the chance and the game went beyond the overtime session and into a shootout for only the second time on the Hat Trick's season.

For the first time this year, Danbury fell in the shootout. Michael Marchesan and Dmirty Kuznetsov were both stopped while Mathias Tellstrom and Matt Brown scored for the Wolves to deal the Hat Tricks their second overtime loss of the season.

Brian Wilson starred for the Hat Tricks in net, stopping 39 of 41 shots he faced.

Gregory Hussey stopped 18 of 20 shots in the Watertown net.

Watertown improves to 9-10-0 and sits at 23 points for third place in the FPHL's Empire Division.

Danbury drops to 16-1-2, and gains a point for the regulation tie, increasing their total to 45 points, staying two points ahead of the Binghamton Black Bears for the top spot in the Empire Division, but fall to two points behind the Columbus River Dragons for first place in the FPHL overall.

Connor Lind, Daniel Amesbury, and Luke Richards all recorded one assist each.

The Hat Tricks return home for the first of four straight matchups with the Delaware Thunder on December 23rd. Puck drops at the Danbury Ice Arena at 7:30 PM ET.



Aldworth Ties, Wins Game With Pair

of Goals

by Tom Callahan

Columbus, GA.- Thomas Aldworth scored the tying goal and the overtime game winner to propel the Columbus River Dragons to a 3-2 overtime win against the Elmira Mammoth on Teddy Bear Toss and Ugly Sweater Night presented by McDonald’s.

It was Jacob Kelly who sent the bears flying with his 13th goal of the season at 11:50 of the first period from Kirk Underwood and Lane King to give the River Dragons a 1-0 lead.

After falling behind 2-1 in the third period, Aldworth stepped up to rally his team. He scored the tying goal at 17:21 when he cut in from the left wing on the backhand, moving to his forehand and scored with a shot back against the grain and over the right shoulder
of goaltender Richard Shipman. 

Then in the overtime, it took just 18 seconds for Aldworth to strike for the game-winning goal. Weaving to his right as Cody Wickline crossed in front of him, Aldworth took advantage of a defender screening Shipman, beating the goaltender low glove for the final

Goaltender Breandan Colgan was spectacular in net for the River Dragons, stopping 30-of-32 shots for the win.


Aldworth now has five goals in his last two games.

Cody Wickline now has a five-game scoring streak in progress.

Columbus swept the season series from Elmira 4-0.

The River Dragons will now take on the Prowlers in Port Huron this coming Thursday and Friday night before the Christmas break. The next home game will be New Year’s Eve against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.


Sea Wolves Surrender in First Shootout of Season

by Nick Roesch

Biloxi, MS -It took a nine-round shootout for action to conclude on Saturday night as the Port Huron Prowlers edged out the Mississippi Sea Wolves 6-5 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

The sides traded two quick strikes between the Sea Wolves’ Yaroslav Yevdokimov (6:30) and Larri Vartiainen (9:23) of the Prowlers. Chuck Costello and Dakota Ulmer pushed Mississippi back in front for a 3-1 lead before Liam Freeborn scored the final goal of the opening period. 

The second period was an uncharacteristic twenty minutes between the quick offenses with only one goal being scored. That came from Port Huron’s Dalton Jay at 14:43 to tie the game. 

The Sea Wolves saw a temporary go-ahead goal from Jake Raleigh (8:33), but their late-game struggles came back to haunt them. Port Huron took a 5-4 edge with 34 seconds remaining in the game with Matt Graham and Vartiainen making a comeback bid for the Prowlers. 

With 13 seconds on the board, Mississippi’s Marvin Powell blasted a slapshot which dodged traffic and picked the corner of the net. The play allowed the Sea Wolves to force overtime and pick up a point in the standings. 

Despite picking up a power play, Port Huron’s offense was dismantled in the overtime period after throwing three chances onto Sea Wolves goaltender Blake Weyrick. 

With time expiring, the Sea Wolves and Prowlers moved into a shootout to determine the winner of the night. Nine Mississippi shooters were denied and Sam Marit’s goal clinched the victory for Port Huron. 

After three games in three days, the Sea Wolves will play one game next week, traveling to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a divisional tilt on December 23 against the Carolina Thunderbirds. Puck drop is slated for 6:35pm Central Time and the action will be available for viewing on the Sea Wolves YouTube channel. 



by Gradon Motter

Harrington, DE — The 1st period was a shootout seeing 5 goals in the period. For Delaware, Chris Corgan and Matthew Bazarian score while Nikita Ivashkin, Austin Thompson and Bret Parker light the lamp for the Black Bears.

The second period began and it was all Bingo with Jesse Anderson and Mathieu Boislaed scoring with ease. However, Delaware would not go away easy with a short handed goal from Denis Gafarov.

The third period began with a Houston Wilson goal to make the game interesting early in the period. However, Binghamton sealed the deal with a Gavin Yates and a pair of Geno DeAngelo goals to make the final 8-4.

The Delaware Thunder travel up to Connecticut next week to play the Danbury Hat Tricks. 


by Brooks Hill

Harrington, DE — The Binghamton Black Bears were able to get back into the win column Saturday night against the Delaware Thunder, doubling them up 8-4. Binghamton had seven different goal scorers, the most since opening night. 

Delaware was first on the board, scoring the first of what would five goals combined in the first period. 55 seconds into the game Chris Corgan got a rebound in front of Joe Sheppard and tapped it home. Nikita Ivashkin would tie the game at 1-1 three minutes later, but Delaware would once again grab the lead. Matt Bazarin cashed in an evenstrength goal pushing the Thunder out in front. Austin Thompson would answer with a wrist shot between the legs of Trevor Martin, as the second line would be responsible for the first two Binghamton goals on Saturday. Black Bears were on the power play with under two minutes remaining and Bret Parker knocked in a juicy rebound to ensure that Binghamton would be in front going into the locker room after the first period. 

In a reserve of the first period, the Black Bears would be the first team to score in the middle period. Jesse Anderson received a centering pass from Gavin Yates that would find the back of the net for a much needed insurance goal. The Black Bears extend their lead even more as Mathieu Boislard scored the second power play goal of the night for Binghamton giving the visiting club a 5-2 lead. Late in the period, Dennis Gafarov would steal a pass and have a short-handed breakaway that led to Delaware’s only goal in the frame. 

Tempers began to flair in the final minute of the second, as four penalties were issued at 19:19. As a result, Delaware carried over a power play into the third period, and the Thunder took advantage. Houston Wilson cut the lead down to one, and still had 30 seconds to work with on a 5on3. The Black Bears though, would kill it off the penalty and once again be headed to a power play of their own. Gavin Yates toe-dragged around a defenseman and fooled the goaltender with a beautiful move to give Binghamton a two-goal lead once again. As the period went on, Binghamton did not take their foot off the gas. Geno DeAngelo, who was slotted in the first line tonight, rattled off two goals in tail-end of the period, securing his first multi-goal game this season. 

The Black Bears defeated the Thunder by a final score of 8-4. Tyler Gjurich extended his point-streak to 46 straight games, dating back to last season with two assists in Saturday night’s game. Gjurich will searching for professional goal number 300 when the Black Bears take on the Watertown Wolves on Friday, December 23rd at 7:00p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the office at 607.722.7367 or online at