Gjurich's Big Night Leads Wolves Past Ice Breakers
By Jared Tennant
Mentor, OH - A four-goal first period combined with a career outing for forward Tyler Gjurich led the Watertown Wolves to a 7-4 victory over the Mentor Ice Breakers on Friday evening at Mentor Ice Arena.
Gjurich had the hot hand early, striking just 46 seconds into the contest before beating Ice Breakers netminder Ryan Hubbard once again at 6:47 of the first. Less than a minute later, Justin Portillo scored to give Watertown an early 3-0 advantage. With six minutes left in the opening period, Gjurich completed the hat trick to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Wolves. Mentor Head Coach Iain Duncan lifted Hubbard from the game for Matt Camilleri, who kept Watertown off the board for the rest of the period.
The Wolves began the second period on the power play, and they didn’t waste any time. Just 45 seconds into the period, Christian Whitcomb beat Camilleri to give Watertown a commanding 5-0 lead. Despite the lopsided score, the Ice Breakers didn’t quit. Alex Morrow netted his second goal of the year before Ivan Vilcauskas’ first professional goal cut the deficit to 5-2. Vilcauskas finished a one-timer off a beautiful pass across the crease from Mark Essery.
Just over three minutes into the third period, Essery used a beautiful toe drag move and beat Wolves starter Cody Karpinski for his first goal in the Federal Hockey League, making the score 5-3 and putting Mentor back in the game. With the momentum on the side of Mentor, Gjurich struck once again for his fourth of the night at 9:18 of the third to restore the Wolves’ three-goal cushion. Mentor forward Drake Hunter, playing in his first pro hockey game, took a cross-ice pass from blueliner Brody Duncan and beat Karpinski low on the blocker side with under three minutes left in the contest. Trailing 6-4 with the clock ticking down, the Ice Breakers intended to pull Camilleri for the extra attacker. But they were unable to make the move, as Gjurich capped off his impressive performance with a backhanded finish over Camilleri that sealed the game for Watertown.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday night at Mentor Ice Arena. Tickets are available online at www.mentoricebreakers.com/tickets or by calling (440) 290-8502.