Game Recaps 3/30/24


 Motor City Rockers Take It To Binghamton In 6-4 Win Headed Into Bye Week

by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - The Motor City Rockers came into this weekend with a daunting task in front of them: squaring off against the top two teams in each division, and keep the Danbury Hat-Tricks at bay to hold on to the No. 2 in the Empire Division with two weeks to play before playoffs. 

After Friday’s 4-2 win over Columbus, who leads the Continental Division, the Rockers followed that up with a convincing 6-4 win over the Empire Division leading Binghamton BlackBears on Saturday night.

Just like a night ago, Motor City jumped on the board first with two goals in the first six minutes of play in the first period. 

Forward Danny Vanderwiel swung the puck from the near side circle back into the slot to Jonathan Juliano. The Fraser, MI native fired a quick turnaround wrister to the far post for a 1-0 lead with 15:18 to play in the opening frame.

Avery Smith followed up with his third goal of the season in his first seven games as a college signee out of Indiana Tech. Smith took an outlet pass deep into the offensive zone and quickly gave up the puck to Lane King. King fed it back to him and Smith chopped it over Nolan Egbert for a 2-0 lead.

Binghamton was able to cut into the lead, 2-1, three minutes later with a goal by Kyle Stephan when he flubbed a shot but the puck slid under Trevor Babin’s stick for a third goal of the year.

The Rockers answered the goal like it had all weekend seven minutes later off the stick of TJ Sneath when King once again feathered then puck through traffic to Sneath on the back post for his 18th of the season and a 3-1 game.

Motor City added two more goals in the second period when the Rockers were on a four-minute power play that was briefly interrupted by a Rocker penalty for a 4-on-4 opportunity. The damage was limited as Nick Magill-Diaz rifled a shot for his second goal of the weekend for a 4-1 lead before Declan Conway earned the power play goal for MC two minutes later for a 5-1 lead. 

Binghamton didn’t go away, however, earning three goals in the third period to make the game interesting. Stephan cut into the lead, 5-2, when he finished up a rebound on the far side post that Babin couldn’t collect for his second of the night. 

Dakota Bohn earned a power play goal with 7:57 to play in the third when he scored from the high slot to make, and Tyson Kirkby added a late goal with 47.7 seconds left in the game to make it 6-4.

The Rockers did earn its 11th short-handed goal of the season when TJ Delaney forced a turnover at center ice with an aggressive forecheck that led to a breakaway for his second goal of the weekend 30-second into a Black Bear power play.

Motor City now heads into a bye week with a game and half lead over Danbury who sits in third place in the Empire Division as the Hat-Tricks have four games to play; two of which come against Binghamton next weekend on the road.

Motor City will return to action in one final home-and-home against the Port Huron Prowlers with the final home game on the 13th at Big Boy Arena before the playoffs begin the following weekend.


by Brooks Hill

Fraser, MI - The Binghamton Black Bears fell again on the road Saturday night, 6-4 against the Motor City Rockers. Binghamton's three-goal third period was not enough to surmount a comeback. 

Motor City jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first six minutes. The third line was able to get the Bears on the board, with a little bit of luck. Kyle Stephan scored his first of the night by sliding the puck under the stick of Trevor Babin. For seven and a half minutes, Binghamton kept the game close at a one goal deficit. However, Motor City was able to find the back of the net one more time in the opening frame. After one period, the Rockers led 3-1.

Things got worse before they got better in the second. After what had looked like the Black Bears best period of the weekend, the Rockers added two more goals. A 4on4 goal and a power play tally in the final five mintues of the frame doubled their lead, then up to 5-1. 

In the third, Binghamton was able to quick strike from Stephan, his second of the night. It was quickly answered by the Rockers, but the Black Bears made it interesting in the final 10 minutes. Dakota Bohn scored the only power play goal of the weekend for Binghamton and Tyson Kirkby scored the fourth goal with 47 seconds left. 

Binghamton pulled the goalie but were unable to get goal, as the fell 6-4 to Motor City in the finale of the season series. 



by Brett Wiseman

Wytheville, VA - In the 13th and final meeting between the regional rivals, 13 was the lucky number for the Blue Ridge Bobcats, who finally defeated the Carolina Thunderbirds by a score of 2-1 in a thrilling overtime game.

Both teams played solid, structured, physical hockey along all 200 feet of the ice all night long, and both team's goaltenders put on clinics in their respective creases.

Both squads played to a scoreless first period. 90 seconds into the second period, Alex Norwinski created and won a wall battle, found Josh Newberg, who then found Nikita Ivashkin all alone in front of the net. Ivashkin put a series of super skill moves on Mario Cavaliere and beat him for his 27th goal of the season to put Blue Ridge up 1-0.

Carolina answered later in the middle frame, and the score remained tied through the third and into overtime.

Owen Liskiewicz, who stopped 42 of 43 Thunderbirds shots in net for the Bobcats, made a series of massive saves in overtime to set up Blue Ridge for a chance to win it. Vladislav Vlasov did just that, snapping a wrist shot through Cavaliere for the game-winning goal at the 3:40 mark of the extra frame.

Ivashkin's goal earned him third star, Liskiewicz 42 saves netted him second star, and Vlasov's 15th goal of the season to win it earned him first star honors on the night.

The Bobcats will now embark on their final road trip of the season, visiting the first place Columbus River Dragons for a two-game series next Friday and Saturday night.


River Sharks Have Bigger Bite Then Wolves On First Responder Night   

by Cole Parenti

Elmira, NY - The Elmira River Sharks and Watertown Wolves squared off at First Arena for the final time this year. A game that can only be described as the most important of the season for both teams. The River Sharks celebrated first responders by donning specialty jerseys for the contest.


Cameron Yarwood would get the River Sharks started as he scored his second goal in as many games at 5:38 of the first period. Then Trevor Schroder scored his first professional goal to double the River Sharks’ lead at 8:20. Sammy Bernard would stand tall as he stopped all 12 shots he saw.


The second period saw Watertown get on the board thanks to their captain, Tate Leeson, but after it was more of the same as Elmira continued to pour on the pressure. Kyle Powell would connect on the powerplay and then Davide Gaeta would follow suit making it a three-goal lead going to the third.


The third period saw goaltending steal the show as Sammy Bernard was spectacular saving all but one shot he faced. Dustin Jesseau and Blake Peavey would each pocket an empty netter with Trevor Lord scoring for Watertown in between.


The River Sharks take this important game from the Wolves by a final score of six to two. Sam Bernard would finish the night with forty saves and only allowed two goals. The River Sharks and Wolves will meet two more times in Watertown with the final playoff spot on the line.


The River Sharks are back in action at home this Wednesday against the Empire leading Binghamton Black Bears. Follow along on Youtube. #FeartheFin



by Will Wiegelman

Port Huron, MI - A night after beating the Empire Division leaders, the Port Huron Prowlers avenged Thursday’s loss to the Continental Division leaders by defeating Columbus 6-5 at McMorran Place on March 30. Liam Freeborn scored the game winner with 1:38 on the clock in the third.

Justin MacDonald opened the scoring just over five minutes into the first, putting home a rebound after a shot by Hugh Anderson. The Prowlers tied things up 1:10 later when Tucker Scantlebury made a chip play in his own end to set up a two-on-one where he found Freeborn for his first of the night.

Just over three minutes later, Bryan Parsons walked the middle of the ice and picked his spot to give Port Huron the lead. The score was tied again when Ryan Hunter ripped a power-play one timer later in the frame. Frank Schumacher made sure the Prowlers ended the period ahead as his wrister deflected off of Hunter Bersani and past Breandan Colgan.

Early in the second, Schumacher sent another shot in from the blue line, this time on Vincent Dekumbis’ tape, and he tapped it home for his second goal in as many games. 

Columbus battled back as Hunter ripped home his second of the night on a rush and then he set up MacDonald for a one-timer that knotted the game at four. Less than a minute later, Ross Bartlett found the puck after a missed shot and centered it to Evan Foley who tapped the puck home and restored the Port Huron lead.

The score stayed 5-4 through much of the third before Hunter completed the hat trick with another hard wrister and the score was tied with under five to play.

With overtime looking imminent, Freeborn stole a pass at center and sent Scantlebury into offensive territory. His shot leaked through Colgan and Freeborn cleaned up the puck in the crease to put the Prowlers back ahead for good with 1:38 to go.

12 different Prowlers found the scoresheet led by Frank Schumacher’s three points. Scantlebury, Austin Fetterly and Dalton Jay each chipped in two assists while Chace McCardle and Jeromey Rancourt picked up their first pro helpers. Oscar Wahlgren got the win in his first pro start after a 33 save performance.

Hunter led the Dragons with five points while MacDonald had four. No one else on Columbus had more than one point. Colgan stopped 28 shots in the loss.

The Prowlers travel to Baton Rouge on April 5 and 6. Both games will be streamed live on the PHP Network YouTube channel.

Prowlers Edge River Dragons 

by Tom Callahan

Port Huron, MI - Liam Freeborn’s second goal of the night came with just 1:38 remaining and gave the Port Huron Prowlers a 6-5 win over the Columbus River Dragons on Saturday night at McMorran Arena.

Ryan Hunter led the Columbus offense with three goals and two assists while Justin MacDonald put up a four-point night with two goals and two assists.

The loss spoiled a chance for the River Dragons to wrap up both the Continental Division and FPHL Regular Season title after a Binghamton loss in regulation to Motor City and Carolina losing in overtime to Blue Ridge. Columbus now needs a single point to wrap up both and guarantee itself the potential for home ice through to the Commissioner’s Cup Final.


  • The hat trick was Hunter’s second of his pro career, and his first career five-point night.
  • Justin MacDonald’s four-point effort was the seventh time this season he’s had four-or-more points in a game.
  • The game wrapped the season series between the two teams with it split at 1-1.

The next chance for Columbus to clinch home ice through the playoffs comes Friday, April 5 against the Blue Ridge Bobcats at 7:35 pm. Tickets are on sale now for all remaining River Dragons home games through the Civic Center Box Office and online at


Zydeco Double Down: A Back-to-Back Triumph

by Morgan King

Baton Rouge, LA -  In the Raising Cane's River Center the Baton Rouge Zydeco played the Mississippi Sea Wolves Saturday night and Zydeco secured a back-to-back win ending the game with a 3-2 score.

For the 1st period, The Mississippi Sea Wolves struck first with a 1-nothing lead made by Dalton Anderson. A Zydeco turnover was stopped by the Sea Wolves goalie shutting down Curtis Hansen of the Zydeco. Scott Shorrock of Baton Rouge scored the power play goal evening the score to 1-1. With seconds left in the period Zydeco scores once more by Curtis Hansen.

Tensions heightened as a fight broke out in center ice ending the period. 

During the 2nd period, the Mississippi Sea Wolves scored halfway. The goal made by the Sea Wolves Dmitry Kuznetsov evened the score. Many penalties followed in this period varying from holding penalties from Zydeco, and game misconduct from the Sea Wolves. The score remained a tie going into the last period. 

In the 3rd period, there were many Zydeco penalties. Both teams attempted shots, but both goalies continued to shut it down. With 4 minutes to go Tyler Larwood of Zydeco got his ninth goal. Making the Zydeco advantage 3-2 winning the game. 

The Zydeco's next game is Sunday, March 31st and they will play the Mississippi Sea Wolves in the Raising Cane's River Center.