Enforcers Finally Win In OT, Beat Mentor 5-4

After dropping two games following a franchise record 5-game win-streak, the Enforcers came into tonight’s game looking to get back in the win-column against the Mentor Ice Breakers. Elmira currently sits in 3rdplace behind Watertown, and Carolina, so a win tonight would be huge in their chase for 2ndplace. Elmira came into the game with a 3-0 lead in the season series, and they lead in the goal column 14-6.

The Enforcers would continue to impress in attendance tonight as 4,159 came through the turnstiles of First Arena as both teams came out hot in the 1st period, with Elmira getting the better of Mentor. Enforcers #44 Cal Miska would get the night started early when he ripped a beautiful shot past the Ice Breakers goalie for his sixth goal of the season not even a full four minutes into the game. Following a Mentor tripping penalty, the Enforcers leading goal scorer Sean Reynolds would take a beautiful shot on goal that was unfortunately saved, but the goalie failed to cover the puck and Reynolds was given another opportunity which he took advantage of and sniped a wrist-shot past the net minder for the Enforcers second goal of the game to give them an early 2-0 lead. Mentor wouldn’t be completely outdone in this period, though, as they would come back with a goal of their own when Thomas McKinnon was able to put one past the veteran goalie Troy Passingham to cut the lead in half and make the score 2-1. Penalties and shots were the definition of this first twenty minutes as we had a total of six penalties, three coming from each team, and a total shot count of 31. Mentor lead in the shot column 18-13, but the Enforcers went to the locker room with a 2-1 lead.

The 2ndperiod of this game could take the cake as one of the longer periods of the season, and possibly one of the longer periods in FHL history. It was Mentor who struck first though, as #25 Gordy Bonnel went streaking down the ice and put into the back of the net to tie the game up 2-2. After this goal, things took a turn as the game got much more physical, leading to a fight between #21 Ryan Devine of Elmira, and #3 Matt Kadolph of Mentor. During this fight, it was all Devine as he laid haymaker after haymaker to the Ice Breakers player, knocking him to his knees and leaving him with a cut eye that sent Kadolph to the locker room to get fixed up. Just three seconds after play started up again the Enforcers took advantage of the momentum from that fight win and scored. Stepan Timofeyev ripped a gorgeous wrist shot that beat the Mentor goalie top shelf on his stick side to put Elmira up 3-2. The physical play and constant talk did not settle down though, as the Enforcers captain Ahmed Mahfouz wanted the call for a high hit but did not get it, so he attempted to take matters into his own hands with Mentor’s #19 Brody Duncan, but Duncan was having none of it. After constant chirping from Mahfouz and no reaction from Duncan, Mahfouz eventually grabbed the Mentor assistant captain by his visor and gave him a couple jabs to the face before the referees pulled them apart and hit the Enforcers captain with a double minor for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. Mentor still lead in the shot column 27-26, but it was the Enforcers who lead in the score column 3-2 to finish out the first forty minutes.

The final period of regulation took on the same attitude as the rest of the game, plenty of huge hits, plenty of shots, and more goals scored. It was Mentor who started the action with #19 Brody Duncan scoring the unassisted goal to tie the game at 3-3. Elmira bounced back and took the lead when Captain Ahmed Mahfouz put one in the net with the assist going to Darren “The Van Man” Lamble and Brandon Vuic. Mentor just wouldn’t go away tonight though as they followed up with another goal of their own from #23 Joe Swenson to tie the game once again, 4-4. The rest of this period was quite like the rest of the game when it came to penalties, shots, and big hits. Elmira was finally able to take the lead in the shot column late in this period, and regulation finished with Elmira having 43 shots, and Mentor having 37, and for the first time this game we finished a period with the score tied, 4-4.

Overtime is one of the most exciting things in hockey, and we were fortunate enough to get to see a five minute, 3-on-3 overtime period in which it was controlled by Elmira. Elmira’s Cameron Yarwood would send a beautiful pass across the ice to Elmira’s Sean Reynolds, and Reynolds was able to slap a perfect one-timer top shelf for the game-winner. Elmira bounced back after two tough losses, and they are back on the winning side of things to put their season record at 12-10-0-3. The Enforcers will play their next game on January 11thin Watertown at 7:30.

Contributed by Zachary Braster

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