River Sharks Battle with Wolves, Fall 6-5

by Jon Kliment

Elmira, NY Elmira came off a tight loss Friday night after playing in Binghamton returning home to play the Watertown Wolves in a Saturday night matchup which saw the River Sharks come in on a losing streak and the Wolves having not played since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


The River Sharks started off hot attacking Watertown and managed to find the back of the net first as Darius Davidson was able to knock home a Steven Klinck rebound to give Elmira the 1-0 lead. The Wolves came roaring back as Chiwetin Blacksmith and Carter Thornton both beat Spencer Kozlowski to give Watertown the 2-1 lead after one period.

Chase DiBari struck first again in the second to pad Watertown's lead to 3-1, but Elmira responded 1:07 later to close the gap as Elijah Wilson tallied on a stolen pass and went one on one with Eloi Bouchard to make it 3-2. The Wolves bounced back on a Aleksander Gamzatov goal to go back up by two 4-2, but again the River Sharks found their way back in as Wilson added another as he carried the puck through the slot and buried it backhanded past Bouchard and three minutes later Steven Klinck bore down 2 on 1 and fired a shot over the outstretched glove of Bouchard to tie it up 4-4.

As the third got underway the Wolves benefited from a power play on a Rasmus Asp delay of game call to get back a 5-4 lead on a Mike Mercurio goal. A Houston Wilson goal was disallowed due to a high stick, but Mark Poszar fired a shot from the point and buried it past Owen Liskiewicz. As it looked like we were heading to overtime Watertown found a final goal from Ivan Sergeev to give Watertown the win.

Kozlowski stopped 33 of 39 in the loss.

The River Sharks are back home Friday night December 8th at 7:05pm for Teddy Bear toss. Bring your teddies to toss when Elmira scores their first goal. Get your tickets online at Ticketmaster or by calling the box office at 607-734-PUCK. #FeartheFin 


Carolina Wins an Overtime Thriller, 3-2

Schnapp snaps home winner to give Thunderbirds win

by Brendan Reilly

Winston-Salem, NC - After a late goal in the third period to tie the game, the Carolina Thunderbirds got a game winning goal from Jacob Schnapp at the 3:49 mark of the overtime to give Carolina its sixth straight win, 3-2, Saturday night at the Annex over the Port Huron Prowlers. 


After a 4-1 victory on Friday evening, Carolina (10-2-0) looked to secure the series with another victory over Port Huron (5-5-2). The visitors struck first in the second period though as Mathias Tellstrom beat Mario Cavaliere after a turnover in the neutral zone to give the Prowlers a 1-0 lead at the 8:51 mark of the second period.


The Thunderbirds wasted no time responding. Less than 45 seconds later, Jon Buttitta forced a turnover and found Tucker Firth alone in the slot beating Tucker Tynan and tying the game at one. Following Firth’s goal, Carolina was awarded seven minutes on the power play and Jiri Pestuka at the 16:51 mark of the second beat Tynan to give Carolina a 2-1 advantage heading to the third period.


In the final 20 minutes, Carolina kept applying pressure but could not find an insurance goal, and with only 29 seconds remaining, Davide Gaeta tied the game at two after Port Huron pulled its goalie and had the extra attacker sending the two sides to overtime.


The Thunderbirds won last Saturday at home in overtime over the Columbus River Dragons, and this week, they sent the fans home happy again. After being stoned by Tynan earlier in the overtime, Jacob Schnapp got loose on a breakaway and beat the netminder at the 3:49 mark of the overtime, giving Carolina the win, 3-2.


Schnapp, who also had an assist, was named the 1st star while netminder Mario Cavaliere was awarded the 2nd star. Pestuka earned the 3rd star with his second goal on the weekend.


Carolina and Port Huron meet for the series finale on Sunday with the Thunderbirds already having the series in hand. Puck drop is set for 4:05 p.m. from the Annex. 



by Will Wiegelman

Winston-Salem, NC - The Port Huron Prowlers scored late to earn a point but fell 3-2 in overtime to the Carolina Thunderbirds at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex on Dec. 2. Jacob Schnapp scored the game-winner in the extra session.

“I’m proud of the team’s effort, that was a gritty performance,” said Prowlers’ assistant coach Chris Paulin. “Losing the game is not what we want but, to build on, that’s the type of effort we expect. With all the adversity we had with the penalties, losing a couple of key players, having to run four [defensemen], I was very proud of the resiliency and the effort tonight.”

It took until the second period to find the first goal but Port Huron did it. Sam Marit sent a pass to Mathias Tellström on a rush that the Swede one-timed home for his first as a Prowler. That lead lasted all of 38 seconds until Tucker Firth found space and fired a pass from Jon Buttitta to the top shelf to tie the game.

Later in the period, Tucker Scantlebury received seven minutes of penalty time, including a match penalty, and Carolina got a long power play. With 20 seconds left in it, Jiri Pestuka went bar down on the Thunderbirds’ 10th shot of the man advantage to make it 2-1.

At the end of the period, a couple of fights broke out and Alex Johnson and Joe Kennedy were given game misconducts.

“We knew it was going to be a grind, we were tired out there,” Paulin said. “We asked a lot of our defensemen, they competed, they battled. We were all supporting each other. Matt Graham took a shift at defense which I don’t think he’s ever done before. That’s the type of commitment we had.”

Port Huron survived multiple penalty kills in the third and with 29 seconds to go and Tucker Tynan on the bench, Vincent Dekumbis found Davide Gaeta to tie it on a rush and send the game to overtime.

Schnapp was stopped on his first chance of the extra session but made good on his second, a partial breakaway from the Prowlers’ blue line.

Tynan made 45 saves on the night to continue his strong start to the season in net.

“You’re not going to compete without great goaltending, that’s what we expect from all our goaltenders, and he gave us every chance to win tonight,” Paulin said. “I thought he was excellent, he battled and he stole a couple of saves for us.”

Petr Panacek and Dawson Baker had two assists each and Mario Cavaliere stopped 30 shots.

The third and final matchup of the weekend will be on Dec. 3 at 4:05 P.M. and streamed live on the PHP Network YouTube channel.



by Brett Wiseman

Wytheville, VA - For the second night in a row, the Blue Ridge Bobcats gave the first place Columbus River Dragons all they could handle and more. Unfortunately for the Cats, for the second night in a row, a bad bounce was the difference in the game.

In almost identical fashion, a funky puck bounce off of a late-game faceoff found the stick of a River Dragon in the high slot. Tonight it was Justin McDonald putting home his second of the night for the eventual game winner. Cody Wickline followed with an empty netter with just one second on the clock to seal the win for Columbus.

Three of the River Dragons five goals came on the power play, including McDonald's game winning goal.

The Bobcats struck first late into the opening frame on a power play goal from Dominic Matonak, who extended his point streak to four games. Columbus answered with a pair of power play goals, one in the dying seconds of the first period and another midway through the middle frame.

Hunter Hall put the Bobcats on his back in the second period, singlehandedly giving Blue Ridge the lead with back-to-back goals 3 minutes apart while on a major penalty power play. Hall's 7th and 8th goals of the season extended his team lead in points with 14.

The Bobcats head to Baton Rogue next weekend for another bout with the Zydeco. Both games will be available on the Bobcats YouTube channel.

River Dragons Win, 5-3 

by Tom Callahan

Wytheville, VA - The Columbus River Dragons got a hat trick from Justin MacDonald and won a wild, penalty-filled, back-and-forth affair 5-3 against the Blue Ridge Bobcats on Saturday night.

The win gave Columbus a weekend sweep of the road series.

Special teams featured prominently in the game, with each team scoring three power play goals on seven chances. MacDonald scored two of his three goals with the man advantage, with only the game winner coming at even strength in the game. 

Cody Wickline also scored twice, including an empty net goal with just one second remaining to seal the victory for Columbus.

Breandan Colgan earned the win with 28 saves to improve to 4-1-1 on the season.


  • With an assist on MacDonald’s first period goal, Austin Daae picked up his 400th professional point.

  • MacDonald’s hat trick was the second this season for the River Dragons. Wickline scored three times on opening night against Baton Rouge in a 6-3 win.

  • Columbus will play back-to-back games at home for the first time this season when they take the ice next, December 8 and 9 against the Mississippi Sea Wolves next weekend.

The River Dragons are back in action on Friday, December 8 at 7:05 pm to celebrate the birthdays of Scorch and Torch! Tickets for all remaining River Dragons home games are on sale now through



by Doug Lattuca

Danbury, CT -  A late third period goal from forward Nick DiNicola propelled the Hat Tricks over the Rockers 5-3 on Saturday night. With the win, the Hat Tricks split the weekend and season series with Motor City while snapping their four-game losing streak. 

With a little more than five minutes remaining in the third, DiNicola snuck behind the Motor City defense and was sprung on a breakaway with the lead on his stick. The Hat Tricks leading goal scorer went near side off the right post to put the Hat Tricks in the lead. Danbury added an empty netter at 20:00 to ice the victory.

In the first period, both sides found the back of the net twice. Motor City struck first with two goals in a two-minute span. Forwards Jonathan Juliano, at 6:02, and Brad Reitter 1:20 later gave the Rockers a 2-0 advantage. The Hat Tricks answered back with two of their own a few minutes later. Captain Jonny Ruiz scored shorthanded at 11:04 while forward Brandon Stojcevski snapped home a breakaway score at 13:43.

The second period ended in a 3-3 tie after Pavel Svintsov of the Rockers tallied a short-handed goal at 11:27. But just 46 seconds later, Danbury forward Daniel McKitrick tied the game at three from a sharp angle.

Hat Tricks outscored the Rockers 2-0 in the third to secure the win.

The Hat Tricks improve to 7-7-1-1 this season and 5-1 against Motor City all-time. The Hat Tricks finish up their three-game homestand Saturday night, Dec. 9 when Watertown comes to Danbury. 

Motor City Suffers First Regulation Loss to Danbury

by Ben Szilagy

Danbury, CT - For the first time in thirteen games, the Motor City Rockers lost in regulation, becoming the last team in the FPHL to do so this year. 

The Rockers fell to the Danbury Hat Tricks 5-3 on Saturday night at Danbury Arena. 

The game winning goal was scored with 5:19 to play in the third period when Nick DiNicola slipped behind the Motor City defense and caught up to a broken stretch pass from Sam Dabrowski creating a mini breakaway. DiNicola flipped the puck with his backhand as he crashed the net for a goal and a 4-3 lead.

Danbury got an empty net goal with just under a second remaining Jacob Ratcliffe beat the buzzer with a wrap-around attempt. 

The game started out all Motor City in the first seven minutes of the first period.

The Rockers jumped out to a two goal lead thanks to goals from both Jonathon Juliano and Brad Reitter. 

6:02 into the first period, TJ Delaney carried the puck into the offensive zone and found his trailer in Juliano. The FPHL veteran stepped into the shot in the high slot and scored stick side for a 1-0 lead on his fourth goal of the season. 

A minute and twenty seconds later, Pavel Svintsov centered the puck to Danny Vandeirwiel who fed it to Brad Reitter for a tap-in goal for his fourth of the season, and second on the weekend for a 2-0 lead.

The celebration was short lived because Vanderwiel was hit from behind into the end boards by Daniel Amesbury and immediately fell to the ice. In the span of 16-minutes, the Rockers Captain immediately was checked and attended to by on site training staff and taken to a local hospital where he was reportedly responsive to tests. 

While the wind was out of the Rockers’ sails, Danbury was able to claw its way back into the game with a short-handed goal off the stick of Jonny Ruiz that cut into the lead, 2-1, with 8:56 to play in the period. Danbury also added another goal two and half minutes later when Brandon Stojcevski recorded his fifth of the season to end the first period tied at 2-2.

The Rockers were able to regain the lead in the second period when Reitter found Svintsov off the bench in the slot and connected with the Russian for a quick wrister and a 3-2 lead before Daniel McKitrick tied the score a minute later at 3-3. 

The Rockers will travel to Watertown to face the Wolves on Sunday night at 7:05 at Watertown Arena before heading back home to Michigan after the game.



by Jioseph Furtado

Baton Rouge, LA, -The Baton Rouge Zydeco and Mississippi Sea Wolves returned to the ice for their final game of the weekend series, with tempers carrying over after a physical game the night before that saw 109 penalty minutes and multiple ejections. 

With over four thousand fans in attendance, it didn’t take long for the Zydeco to get their offense going. In the opening minutes of the 1st period, the Zydeco capitalized on a 5 on 3, with Brendan Hussey opening the scoring to make it 1-0. 

After facing early penalty trouble, the Sea Wolves were able to find their footing. They tied the game minutes later on with a goal from Justin Barr. This would be Barr’s first goal of the season. While both teams were trading chances, Scott Shorrock found the back of the net for the Zydeco, on a shot from outside the perimeter to make it 2-1. 

In the final minute of the 1st period, Sea Wolves goaltender, Joseph Sheppard, went down with an injury and would not return to the game. Mississippi would turn to Blake Weyrick, who started Friday night, giving up five goals on 32 shots.

The 2nd period saw 22 shots on net, with the only goal coming from Lucas Helland just minutes into the 2nd (02:29), to tie the game for the Sea Wolves at 2-2. For Weyrick, he entered the game cold, but stood his ground during the 2nd period, shutting down all 11 shots he faced.

With the score tied heading into the final 20 minutes of the game, the Zydeco peppered Weyrick, throwing 18 shots at him. Despite the heavy pressure, the Sea Wolves managed to take the lead late in the 3rd period on a short handed goal from Jackson Bond, giving Mississippi a 3-2 lead, their first of the weekend series. They would then go on to add a goal from Joakim Nilsson to make it 4-2, to seal the win on the road. 

The star of the game was Blake Weyrick, who made 29 saves after entering the game in the final minute of the 1st period. His effort alone would be enough to propel the Sea Wolves to their sixth win of the season and head home with three points.

With the win, the Sea Wolves improved to 6-6-1-1-0 on the year and are now 3-1 when facing the Zydeco. For Baton Rouge, they would fall to 2-10-0-1-0 on the season and will look to turn it around next week when they host the Wytheville Blue Ridge Bobcats.

Both teams will meet again on December 14th at the Raising Cane's River Center.