Prowlers Split Third Consecutive Series, Robertson Records His 300th Career Point
The Port Huron Prowlers split their third consecutive series this weekend against the Mentor Ice Breakers. In Friday night’s contest, the Prowlers won by the score of 4-2 and on Saturday they lost 6-3.
The Prowlers entered the series with a record of 2-4-2-0, fourth in the Western Division and the Ice Breakers with a record of 7-2-0-0 second in the Eastern Division.
In the first game, it was Zach Zulkanycz finding the back of the net after he deflected Bryan Parsons's shot from the point past Mentor goaltender Austyn Roudebush to get the Prowlers on the board in the first period.
The Prowlers would score three unanswered goals in the second period. Justin Portillo would tally twice in the period and Dalton Young would slip a backhand shot past the blocker of Roudebush giving Port Huron a 4-0 lead going into the third period.
Declan Conway and Alex Morrow would score in the third period for Mentor but it wouldn’t be enough as the Prowlers held on for three points.
Friday night was arguably the Prowlers best game of the season. The first period was a back and forth affair but Cory Simons shut the door making 16 saves in the period. In the second period, the Prowlers would turn it up a notch and outwork the Ice Breakers, outshooting them 19-11 and scoring three goals. But the Prowlers took their foot off the gas in the third giving Mentor more scoring opportunities. With a 4 goal lead Port Huron played a more conservative style of hockey while Mentor went on the offensive.
When the final buzzer sounded, Justin Portillo had two goals, Austin Fetterly registered three assists and Cory Simons finished the game with 34 saves. Roudebush would finish with 34 saves as well.
On Saturday, Port Huron would strike first again when Justin Portillo forced a turnover and made his away around an Ice Breaker for a breakaway. He converted by slipping the puck past the pad of Roudebush.
Mentor would answer back when Jon Buttitta cashed in on a shot from the slot that would beat Chris Paulin to tie up the game.
Declan Conway would then give Mentor their first lead of the weekend when he converted on the power play.
But Prowler's Forward Zach Zulkanycz would tie up the game at two. Dalton Young's shot off the left board would deflect off Ice Breaker Stuart-Dant's skate and end up on Zulkanycz's stick. He would turn around and fire home the puck to even the score at two.
Parker Moskal would give Mentor the lead but it was Declan Conway's controversial goal that would knock the wind out of Port Huron. Conway picked up the puck at the blue line, skated past Matt Stoia, and cut back across the goal line to lift a shot over the outstretched Paulin. It appeared that Paulin knock the net off its mooring when he went down in his butterfly position. As Conway cut across, Joe Pace and Bryan Parsons stood still looking at the refs in disbelief as Conway roofed the puck into the net. As Pace plead his case that the net had come off the moorings, Paulin lost his cool by throwing his stick up in the air and pushing the net in the direction of the ref. Nonetheless, the goal counted and Paulin was assessed a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Prowlers opened the third period with a special goal. Zulkancyz would pick up a rebound off a shot from Matt Robertson and tuck it home past Roudebush to make the score 4-3. With the assist, Robertson earned his 300th career FPHL point.
But the comeback was short lived as Thomas Stuart-Dant would score twice for Mentor. In the first goal he would pick up the loose puck in the slot and slap it past the glove of Paulin for his first career FPHL goal. Stuart-Dant would add another on the power play putting Mentor up 6-3 to solidify a win for the Ice Breakers.
The Prowlers just did not look the like the same team who played on Friday night. They were slower while Mentor was much more physical. However, the Prowlers amassed 57 shots on Roudebush outshooting the Icebreakers by 20. Roudebush would make 54 saves in the victory in what was his 11th consecutive start. Head Coach Joe Pace shared his thoughts on Roudebush’s performance.
“Obviously, outshooting them, you think you’re going to win but goalies get hot and we ran into a hot goalie tonight,” Pace said. “We had to work to get more chances, he was making the second and third saves.”
Zach Zulkancyz had two goals, Dave Nippard had two assists, while Chris Paulin made 31 saves in the loss.
Coach Pace also gave his final thoughts on the weekend series and shared how important the next series against Danville is.
“I think the guys played great this weekend. Obviously, Friday night was a perfectly played game and we wished we could have done the same thing on Saturday. The biggest thing for us right now is too start to string together a couple of games and to take all the points out of each weekend to start to climb in the standings,” Pace said. “I think this upcoming weekend against Danville, a home-and-home, is a perfect opportunity to do that. They are the team we are chasing in the standings, so it will be the perfect opportunity to get a jump and boost morale a little bit and show the fans we are a team to be reckoned with.”
After the weekend series, the Prowlers sit third in the Western Division with a record of 3-5-2-0 while Mentor stays in second in the East with a record of 8-3-0-0. The Prowlers will have a home-and-home series with the Danville Dashers next weekend. Friday night the Prowlers host the Dashers at 7:30. You can catch that game on EBW.TV. Saturday’s game is set for 8:30 and that game can be heard on Mixlr.
By: Jeremy Skiba