Carolina Staves Off Motor City, Earns 5-3 Win

by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - After winning on Friday night, the Rockers couldn’t pull off a weekend sweep against the Carolina Thunderbirds. 

Carolina scored two goals in the third period, and held off a 6-on-5 rush in the last 1:09 to walk out of Michigan with a 5-3 win on Saturday night. 

The Thunderbirds (31-9-2) was able to get on the board first thanks to a power play with 7:38 to play in the first period. 

John Buttitta held the puck along the nearside boards, and gave it up to the point where Joe Kennedy was waiting. Kennedy quickly slid the puck to Dawson Baker on the nearside. Baker walked the puck down into the nearside circle and fired the puck top shelf on a screened Trevor Babin for a 1-0 lead. 

Motor City (22-14-6) was able to tie the game at 1-1 off the stick of Tommy Cardinal with 9:05 to play in the first period. 

The puck was cleared by the Thunderbirds to Babin who secured it. He left it for (blank) at the end line who fired a stretch pass to Tommy Cardinal at center ice. Cardinal walked the puck down the far side boards and moved into the slot for a back hand for his 16th of the season.  

Carolina regained the lead 8:26 into the second period. 

Baker controlled the puck along the far side wall and moved it to Buttitta. Buttitt had eyes on the back of his head as he passed the puck to a crashing Josh Koepplinger in the slot. Koepplinger fired the puck to the top-shelf past Babin for a 2-1 lead.

Motor City struggled to get back into the game until Cardinal was able to take advantage of Boris Babik being out of position. 

Babik made two incredible saves, and was getting up to his seat to make another when Cardinal found the puck on his stick and fired the puck over Babik’s head and under the crossbar for his 17th of the season, for his second of the game. The Rockers and Carolina were tied at 2-2 with 1:52 left in the second period. 

It took until the third period for the Rockers to gain a lead as it was chasing goals all night long, but to get the lead took a moment of seconds. 

14-seconds in the final frame, the puck was fired in off the stick of Dante Suffredini and was turned away by Babik. During a scramble in front of the net, Connor Inger put in the rebound for a 3-2 lead.

Carolina found a way to not only tie the score, but take the lead with its suffocating forecheck. 

As Motor City was working to clear the zone, there was a gratuitous giveaway in front of the net that landed on the stick of Justin Pringle. Pringle gathered it in between the hashes and tied the score at 3-3 with 16:14 to play. 

Two minutes later Joe Kennedy went to work on the blue line and kept the puck in the offensive zone. Kennedy worked the puck down low after taking the long way around and centered the puck to Jan Salak. Salak fired the puck and the rebound bounced to a recovering Kennedy on the far side for a goal and a 4-3 lead. 

Butittia earned an empty net goal, 5-3, during Motor City's last final push with 1:09 left in the game. 

After the split at home, Motor City has to rebound quickly as it hosts the top team in the Continental Division in the Columbus RiverDragons for a three game series. Games will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased on



Former River Dragon Jake Schultz Nets Game Winner

by Tom Callahan

Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons went to overtime against the Binghamton Black Bears for the second straight night, but this time it was the Black Bears netting the win in a 4-3 contest Saturday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the River Dragons would draw even before the end of the period on a power play goal from Josh Pietrantonio and an even strength marker from Josh Labelle. 

Then in the third, Cody Wickline put the River Dragons ahead 3-2 before Austin Thompson scored his second goal of the night to force overtime.

It was there that former River Dragon Jake Schultz scored the game-winning goal 1:37 into overtime to give Binghamton the win.

Columbus will now head to Michigan to take on the Motor City Rockers for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before returning home on St. Patrick’s Day against the Mississippi Sea Wolves at 7:30 pm.


Mammoth Fall in Shootout 4-3

by Jacob Johnson

Elmira, NY -  Tonight would take a lot of extra hockey but after 10 rounds of shootouts the Danbury Hat Tricks would complete the weekend sweep winning 4-3. Harley White and Frankie McClendon stood on their heads and made this game an instant classic. 

The Mammoth and Hat Tricks each had outstanding opportunities in the first 10 minutes but just before the halfway mark of period number 1, Jim Jensen ripped a shot from the point that Tate Leeson tipped past the shoulder of Frankie McClendon for goal number 1. Kyle Stevens also received an assist. 

Less than 30 seconds later Dalton Anderson was shot out of a rocket and put a backhand shot past McClendon to make it 2-0 Elmira. Noah Wild and Tristan Mock each received an assist on the goal.

6 minutes later Ricards Jelenskis found Thomas McGuire who lifted a low wrister past the netminder to give Elmira a 3-0 lead. Justin Schmit received the secondary assist.

To end the 1st period Danbury would finally find the back of the net, John MacDonald poked a rebound shot past White for their first goal of the game. 

The 2nd period would be a much more even contest, both Harley White and Frankie McClendon had to make some spectacular saves to keep the score the same. Each team delivered grade A opportunities but after 40 minutes of hockey the score would stay 3-1 in favor of the Herd. 

The Hat Tricks would bring it back in the 3rd period, Michael Marchesan would score on the powerplay to cut the lead in half to make it 3-2 Mammoth. Johnny Ruiz got the apple. 

5 minutes later Connor Wooley would get his first professional goal beating White to make things all even at 3. Gonzalez and MacDonald received the assists. Wooley would then be ejected from the game for spearing Luke Richards which gave the mammoth a 5 minute power play. They would not convert and the game went to OT. 

Both teams would have their chances but nothing would come of it and we would head to a shootout at First Arena.

After 9 rounds of shootouts, the 10th would be the final one. John MacDonald was able to beat Harley White 5-hole to give Danbury the 4-3 victory. Frankie McClendon stopped every single shot in the shootout and gave the Hat Tricks the 2 points to stay atop the Empire Division. Harley White made 58 saves tonight in the loss.

The Mammoth will be back on the road next weekend as they head to Port Huron to take on the Prowlers. Puck drop is 7:05 on Friday from the McMorran Arena. 


Sea Wolves Sink Watertown in Shootout 

by Nick Roesch

Biloxi, MS - Sam Turner and Jackson Bond scored in a two-round shootout on Saturday night as the Mississippi Sea Wolves defeated the Watertown Wolves 5-4 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. 

The first period saw the top scorers of each team light the lamp. Yaroslav Yevdokimov and Yianni Liarakos each scored goals off each other, while Parker Moskal and Don Carter lit the lamp in Watertown’s favor. 

Playing with a 2-2 score into period two, Sam Turner buried his shot just 66 seconds in as the Sea Wolves took another lead. That advantage lasted 11 minutes until Mathias Tellstrom lasered a puck past Mississippi goaltender Anthony D’Aloisio. 

With 1:53 left in the second, Jackson Bond showed an individual effort, crashing the Watertown net and scoring in the crease for a 4-3 Sea Wolves advantage. 

Fatigue played a factor in the final period as the only goal in the frame came from Samuel Hrabcak at the 8:22 mark to force overtime. 

Watertown outshot the Sea Wolves 5-2 in OT and saw a man-advantage form in the final minute, but they were unable to solve D’Aloisio, who heated up in the home stretch. 

With a shootout proving to be necessary, Sam Turner scored in the first round for the Sea Wolves and Jackson Bond ended the game in round two against his former team. Watertown’s shooters were Elijah Wilson and Fabian Lehner. 

Totaling 45 saves at the end of the night, D’Aloisio extended his win streak to three games and now holds a 3-0-1 record at the professional level. It is also the third consecutive victory for the Sea Wolves as a team. 

The Sea Wolves will play their 10th consecutive home game this Friday, March 10 with the Delaware Thunder coming south. The action starts at 7:05pm CST. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum box office or online at


Thunder Fall to Prowlers

by Jeff Heacock

Harrington, DE - The Delaware Thunder fell in a close battle to the Port Huron Prowlers 7-6 for a split weekend in Harrington, Delaware. 

Port Huron was able to score the first 2 goals to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. 

Delaware finally got on the board 5 minutes into the second period to cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Danila Milushkin. The Prowlers scored the next 2 goals to take a 4-1 lead before the Thunder started their comeback. 

Houston Wilson scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway and then Marquis Grant-Mentis scored another goal with less than 2 minutes to go in the second period. The score at the second break was 4-3 in favor of Port Huron.

The third period would be a back and forth affair. Port Huron stretched the lead back to 2 early in the period on a power play goal by Evan Foley. Delaware then got back to back goals by Danila Milushkin and Austin Weber to tie the score at 5. Matt Stoia gave the Prowlers back the lead, but Jakub Volf tied the score again at 6 less than a minute later. 

The ultimate game winning goal was scored by Matt Graham 11 minutes into the final period to make the final score 7-6 in favor of the Port Huron Prowlers.