Wolves Finish Regular Season with Win Over Prowlers
The Watertown Wolves finished their regular season in the Federal Hockey League facing the opponents they defeated for the Commissioner's Cup last season, the Port Huron Prowlers. Both teams looked to end the regular season on a win in hopes of carrying the momentum into their up-coming playoff games.
The Wolves' offense came out with guns a-blazing in the first period with 5 goals. George Holt started the lighting of the lamps just twenty-three seconds into the game on a play from Cameron Dimmitt and Egor Kostyukov. The Prowlers held the Wolves off for a few minutes before Dimmitt tickled twine himself off the rebound from Anton Kalinin's shot via George Holt's pass. The Prowlers found themselves in more hot water when Matyas Kasek was charged for holding. Deric Boudreau made it a six-second power play on a shot set up by Tyler Prendergast and Kyle Powell. Port Huron was able to take some pressure off their net-minder Chris Paulin briefly with an offensive blitz that resulted in a goal from Matt Robertson, denying Watertown goalie Jared Rutledge a shutout. The Wolves regained momentum thirty seconds later with Yianni Liarakos's unassisted goal on a fast break at 7:37. The game became more physical during the period. Port Huron's Zachary Zulkanycz received an inadvertent elbow to the head that left him down on the ice for several moments. He fortunately was able to get himself up and back to the bench for further examination. When play resumed Watertown found themselves on a penalty kill at the hands of Justin Coachman's interference infraction. Watertown did not let being a man down take any wind out of their sails. Josh Newberg sent the puck to Liarakos, who was able to make a fast-break 2-on-1 situation in the offensive zone with Prendergast, the scorer of Watertown's fifth goal. In the last minute of play it appeared Anton Kalinin was going to make Watertown's sixth goal in the period. Instead he received a hard slash from the up-close play with the goalie that resulted in his needing to leave the ice for the remainder of the last minute in the period. The teams headed into the second with Watertown leading 5-1.
After a scoreless second period, two additional goals came for each team in the third period. Port Huron came into the third period hot scoring goals two and three at :20 and :40 respectively. Artur Drindrozhik and Matt Robertson were the scorers for the Prowlers' second and third goals. After each team killing 5-on-3 power plays the Wolves found their groove again late in the game. During the penalty kill for Christian Whitcomb's roughing call Tyler Gjurich and Lane King were able to get the puck to Kyle Powell, who navigated through a 2-on-1 situation to scored on a laid out Paulin. Tim Santopaolo sneaked the puck behind Chris Paulin on a play from Yianni Liarakos and Justin Coachman for the last goal of the night.
The Wolves also swept the three stars of the game. With two points on the night Cameron Dimmitt won the first star of the game. The second star of the game was awarded to Yianni Liarakos with four points on the night, and Tyler Prendergast earned the third star of the night with 2 points.
The Wolves finished the Federal Hockey League regular season in third place. Their hard work has paid off and earned them a spot in the playoffs for the Commissioner's Cup. They will face the Elmira Enforcers in a best of three series for the first round. Game 1 will take place at the Watertown Municipal Arena on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 pm.