Prowlers Vanquish River Dragons From Port Huron, Earn Six Points Over Weekend
By: Jeremy Skiba
Not since the opening weekend of the FPHL season has the Port Huron Prowlers swept an opponent in a two-game series. The Prowlers defeated the River Dragons both Friday and Saturday night to earn six points for the first time this season.
On Friday night, Port Huron earned their first win of the two game set by outlasting Columbus 3-2.
The heated action started with the opening face-off when Dave Nippard and Chase Fallis dropped the mitts just eight seconds into the game in the Prowlers defensive zone. The bad blood between the two started back in college days and every game since, the two have jawed at each other, leading to this long-awaited brawl. The fight set the tone for a physical game as the both teams took penalties early on.
Then early in the first, the Prowlers would cash in on the power play with a goal from Justin Portillo. Matt Graham would feed Portillo a perfect pass from behind the net and he would wrist the puck homeward.
Port Huron native, Austin Fetterly would put the Prowlers up 2 after he created a turnover in the offensive zone and then would roof the puck short side on Jared Rutledge, surprising the goaltender. This was his second goal of the season.
In the second period, the River Dragons seemed to find their legs and the pressure was on. Both teams skated in exciting end-to-end action but when the Prowlers were on a penalty kill, Zach Zulkancyz would put Port Huron up by three. After Dalton Jay picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, he drove to the net creating a rebound that Zulknacyz would then tap home.
Moments later, on a breakaway, former Prowler Yianni Liarakos would put the River Dragons on the board when he wristed a shot past Cory Simons.
In the third period Liarakos would tally again on a 2-on-1 opportunity. He scored from a pass from Tim Santopaolo.
But Cory Simons was nothing less than spectacular especially when the team was shorthanded. With his 41 save performance, the Prowlers held on to a 3-2 win, earned three points and now lead Columbus by four points in the standings.
On Saturday night, the Prowlers earned their second shutout of the season by defeating Columbus 3-0.
On the man-advantage, Matt Graham parked himself in the slot and opened the scoring when he fired home a shot past Ryland Pashovitz in the second period.
The score would remain 1-0 until Austin Fetterly roofed a shot against Pashovitz. Zach Zulkancyz would create a rebound when his shot bounced off the netminder's pad onto the tape of Fetterly's stick.
Dalton Jay would put home the dagger with a 1:05 remaining in the game. With a shot stick side on Pashovitz, he scored his fifth goal of the season and first since November 16th.
Chris Paulin made 27 saves in the game for his second career FPHL shutout and snapped a three-game losing skid as the Prowlers finished the weekend capturing six points.
Head Coach Joe Pace shared his thoughts on the successful weekend for his team.
“It was an amazing weekend for us as a team. We played terrifically on both sides of the puck and it feels amazing to finally earn six points in two games,” Pace said. “Now we have to carry this momentum into this week. We have to play five games in seven days and we’ll need all the energy we can get.”
The Prowlers now sit third in the Western Division with a record of 7-6-2-0 while the River Dragons place fourth with a 5-9-1-1 record. The Prowlers will be back at McMorran Arena on Wednesday night for an interstate battle with the Battle Creek Rumble Bees. You catch all the action on EBW.TV. Puck Drop is set for 7:30.