ELMIRA ENFORCERS at PORT HURON PROWLERS
Elmira Forces Overtime and Wins 4-3, Pushes Hilliard Cup to 5-2
by Jonathan Kliment
One night after the FPHL announced the playoff format for this season as only the top two teams will vie for the Ignite Cup, Elmira came into the game leading the season series 4-2 as these two teams are battling to get to six wins first and capture the Hilliard Cup during the regular season. Knowing full well the Enforcers could put a stranglehold on the series with a weekend sweep both head coach Ahmed Mahfouz and Mighty Joe Young out there to start the game.
Port Huron hit the board first while extending their lead in league wide shorthanded goals as Steve Leonard intercepted a pass and headed down in a two on one, but didn’t need it as Leonard beat Young stick side for the 1-0 lead. It took a while ,but the Enforcers found the back of the net too after Elmira cleared their zone, Carter Shinkaruk was able to push the puck ahead, get around two Prowler defenseman and deke a puck through Kurt Gutting to tie the score at one a piece.
The Prowlers reclaimed their lead as Dalton Young tallied on the power play early in the second as Young crept in from the side boards and put it over the shoulder of Joe Young at 5:41 of the second period. Port Huron wasn’t done as Austin Fetterly took a pass from Justin Portillo and deposited it past Young for a 3-1 lead 71 seconds later. The Enforcers did find the board after that however, as on a stretch pass from Shinkaruk, Jonny Ruiz wristed a rocket past Gutting while the teams played four a side, to close the gap to 3-2 at 8:33 to go in the second period.
Elmira came back to tie the game 10:14 into the third as Alexis Girard ripped a shot off a face off win to tie the game as the teams were once again four on four. Each side had chances, but no one could capitalize and the clock ran out taking the game to three on three overtime.
In the extra frame back and forth action was on tap, but everything ended up going Elmira’s way after JT Walters was sprung on a breakaway and slipped the puck past Gutting to give Elmira the 4-3 win and a commanding 5-2 lead in the Hilliard Cup.
Joe Young stopped 27 of 30 to earn his third win of the season.
The Enforcers will be back in action at home on Friday April 2nd to kick off a three game series against the Carolina Thunderbirds at 7:05 pm.