Local Sports

Prowlers vs Black Bears, March 29, 2024

Photos courtesy of David Dell – Delta Imaging Photography

By David Dell

PORT HURON- In the odd scheduling that the Federal Prospects Hockey League put out for the season, the Binghamton, New York, Black Bears came to town for the two teams’ one and only match up on Friday.  

Skating was fast, shots hard and play some of the best of the season up to 9:14 of the first period when Austin Thompson went after Adam Heinzl behind the Port Huron goal.  Dan Chartran came to his teammate who gives up six inches and 55 pounds to Thompson and all three picked up minors for Roughing.  While Binghamton showed why they’re the Empire Division champions controlling the powerplay, Makar Sokolov was a brick wall.  Connor Foley was whistled for a Tripping minor at 14:07 putting the Prowlers back on the penalty kill but Vincent Dekumbis (4th of the season) who was the only Prowler to manage and shots on the man advantage in Thursday’s game against Columbus River Dragons, grabbed a bouncing puck that was chipped to the high slot from deep in the corner of the Port Huron zone.  Beating Dakota Bohn to the puck, he scooped it to his stick in the neutral zone and he was off to the races.  Hitting the slot, in full stride made easy work of his wrister, to beat Connor McAnanama short, on the stick side. Dalton Jay is typically the short-handed goal scorer and it appears his skills are rubbing off on his line mate.  Dekumbis’ goal coming at 15:44.  That was the end of the scoring for the period with Binghamton holding a 17-10 lead in shots on goal.

The energy of the first period carried into frame two when Liam Freeborn (23rd of the season) the Prowlers’ team leader in goals went straight to work at 00:32 in, to double up the score.  Austin Fetterly behind the goal, got the puck to Frank Schumacher at the blue line.  Schumacher’s rocket flew off the end boards around the net, onto Freeborn’s stick, who made the textbook redirect onto McAnanama’s backdoor.  A handful of minor penalties to the Prowlers contributed to their low shots on goal of 6 for the period to 13 for the Black Bears, although Port Huron was up 2-0 thanks in good part to Sokolov doing what he does best, stopping shots on goal.

A two goal lead is a dangerous position to be in, in the FPHL, especially against a division champion who averages 5 goals a game and have a plus 94 in goal differential.  Josh Fletcher and Tucker Scantlebury danced at mid-ice at 2:09 of the period and both drew Fighting majors.  Jake Vaughn (1st of the season) then notched his first professional goal at 2:15.  Dalton Jay got a strong backhander towards the Binghamton goal that was deflected off Vaughn’s stick popping over the shoulder of McAnanama to put the Prowlers up by 3.  Liam Anderson gave Port Huron a powerplay opportunity with a Tripping call at 7:17 and Tyson Kirkby made that a 5-3 with a Slashing call and Game Misconduct for Abuse of Officials at 8:55.  Just 10 seconds later Dakota Bohn got the puck on the defensive zone draw, skated around Freeborn and Johnson, then split Chase Mccardle and Austin Fetterly just in the Prowlers’ zone, going  a full 150’ of ice, breaking Sokolov’s shut out as he got the puck in low around Sokolov’s outstretched stick. And just like that Port Huron was back to defending a two goal lead.  Tucker Scantlebury (11th of the season) restored the insurance goal at 17:28 when he got the puck on a Connor Foley pass from the blue line to the right side face-off circle.  Taking an extra stride, his quick wrister into the top corner had McAnanama completely off track as he appeared to have never seen the puck.  The remainder of the period resulted in both teams skating and protecting their goals.  Jake Vaughn was named 1st Star of the game, Makar Sokolov’s 39 of 40 saves, earned him 2nd Star honors and Liam Freeborn picked up the 3rd Star of the game. The Prowlers again failed to manage double digits in shots on goal but of the 8-10 deficit, they made a pair of them count. 1,115 loud cowbell ringing fans saw Port Huron take down the biggest team in the league and the win helped to assuage the loss to the Columbus River Dragons Thursday night.

Port Huron will wrap up the weekend with a River Dragons rematch Saturday night at 7:05.  Both teams have secured a spot in the Commissioner’s Cup championship series.

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