Prowlers Lose Heartbreaker in Carolina

The Port Huron Prowlers dropped a heartbreaker to the Carolina Thunderbirds 2-1 in overtime at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex on Jan. 5. Josh Koepplinger tied the game in the third and won it in overtime.

“It was a good game,” said Prowlers assistant coach Chris Paulin. “Tough loss, we have to be ready for tomorrow.”

Austin Fetterly opened the scoring with a snipe over Frankie McClendon’s glove hand late in the first. That 1-0 lead held until the third thanks in large part to McClendon and Makar Sokolov in goal.

Carolina broke through midway through the final frame of regulation as a shot was knocked down in the crease and Koepplinger was able to jam it home to tie the score. That sent the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Koepplinger found space down the right wing side and picked the corner over Sokolov’s blocker for the game winner just over three minutes in.

“There was a little bit of a miscommunication,” Paulin said. “ They made a good shot and the game ended. That’s it.”

Sokolov made 43 saves while Alex Johnson and Liam Freeborn picked up assists in the loss.

“I thought [Sokolov] played great, he gave us every chance to win,” Paulin said. “I thought he battled hard. Some of the things we’ve been working on in practice, I thought he did really well and, ultimately, we were just one save away.”

Koepplinger was the first star of the game while Justin Bioni added two assists. Gus Ford got third-star honors with one helper and McClendon was the game’s second star after a 40-save performance.

These teams will battle for the sixth and final time this regular season on Jan. 6 with puck drop in Winston-Salem set for 6:05 P.M. The game will be broadcast live on the PHP Network YouTube channel.