Series Preview: Prowlers Back in Baton Rouge
The Port Huron Prowlers begin 2023 with their second of two neutral site games at Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They’ll face the Mississippi Sea Wolves who they defeated 10-5 in Baton Rouge on Dec. 15.
The Prowlers split a home and home with their I-94 rivals, the Motor City Rockers, on the last two days of 2022. The Rockers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win 5-4 at McMorran Place on Dec. 30 behind Jonathan Juliano’s four-point night. Josh Colten’s empty netter turned out to be the game-winner after Austin Fetterly got one back for Port Huron in the final minute. The next night at Big Boy Arena, the Prowlers came back from down 2-0 to win 6-3 in a penalty-filled affair. Port Huron had five players with multiple points while Danick Rodrigue made 25 saves in the win. The split means the Prowlers are back in second place in the Continental Division with a 14-10-3 record and 44 points. This game will end a seven-games-in-12-nights stretch for Port Huron that includes four different venues in three states.
The Sea Wolves are in the midst of a six-game losing skid that began the last time they faced the Prowlers in Baton Rouge. This game will be the end of a four-in-four stretch after three with the Columbus River Dragons including one on New Year’s Day. Mississippi was shut out by Columbus on Dec. 30 4-0 behind Breandan Colgan’s 27-save shutout. The series switched to Columbus Civic Center and the Sea Wolves jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first. The Dragons stormed back with seven unanswered goals, including two empty netters, to take the New Year’s Eve win 8-3. At the time this is written, Mississippi, still with multiple players suspended, sits last in the Continental at 3-17-3 with 12 points.
SEASON SERIES (PORT HURON 5-0)
Nov. 11 @ Mississippi: Prowlers 6, Sea Wolves 1
Nov. 12 @ Mississippi: Prowlers 5, Sea Wolves 2
Dec. 15 @ Baton Rouge, LA: Prowlers 10, Sea Wolves 5
Dec. 16 @ Mississippi: Prowlers 9, Sea Wolves 6
Dec. 17 @ Mississippi: Prowlers 6, Sea Wolves 5 (SO)
In by far the closest game between these two teams, Sam Marit scored the ninth-round shootout winner to complete a second Prowlers series sweep over Mississippi this season. This game featured a goal by each team in the final minute of regulation. Rodrigue stopped all nine shooters he faced in the skills competition.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Prowlers - Larri Vartiainen (F) - Vartiainen had three points against Motor City and is riding a four-game point streak. He’s torn up Mississippi this season with 12 points over five matchups including three points last time they were in Baton Rouge.
Sea Wolves - Yianni Liarakos (F) - After acquiring Liarakos from Elmira in exchange for two players, the Sea Wolves named him a player/assistant coach. He was one of the top point-getters with the Mammoth before the trade and has two assists in two games with Mississippi.
The Prowlers have scored multiple power-play goals in three of their last four games…Mississippi has given up double-digit goals four times this season…All three Port Huron goaltenders (Wyatt Hoflin, Danick Rodrigue and Joe Noonan) picked up a win in the last series between these teams…Yaroslav Yevdokimov (MISS) is the only player with at least 18 points as a Sea Wolf this season (PHP has 8 such players currently on the roster)
Jan. 2, 8:00 P.M. at Raising Cane’s River Center (Baton Rouge, LA)
The game will be live on the Port Huron Prowlers YouTube channel