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Prowlers vs Fraser, Jan. 13

Photos courtesy of David Dell – Delta Imaging Photography

By David Dell

FRASER- Nine of sixteen and fourth of nine. Port Huron brought their A-game to Big Boy Arena Friday night in a solid 6-3 win over host Motor City Rockers in their continuing Interstate 94 rivalry.

Larri Vartiainen (14th of the season) wasted no time putting the Prowlers’ second shot on goal, in goal. Evan Foley won the face-off to Rocker goalie Scott Blake, back to Vartiainen who skated to the slot and backhanded it to find the twine, at 1:01 of the game. Fraser controlled the puck for most of the next 3 minutes until Declan Conway tied the game at 4:37. Port Huron managed only two shots in the next four minutes before former Prowler Jonathan Juliano put the home team up one, at 7:47. Neither team had solid control until 11:32 until when Austin Fetterly (7th on the season) took a pass through traffic in the slot from Adam Heinzl, and put another backhand flip past Blake to even things up. Sam Marit got an assist as well. Motor City would control the puck in the offensive zone with five unanswered shots before Fetterly (8th of the season) drew blood again. Alex Johnson brought the puck up from the Prowler goal line, making a clean pass through the neutral zone which found Fetterly’s stick on the boards right at center ice. Fetterly, skated in unopposed through the face-off circle and buried the biscuit five-hole on Blake. Goalie Wyatt Hoflin was also credited with an assist, the goal coming at 16:29. Up 3 to 2, Port Huron took control and locked down Fraser for the remainder of the period. Shots on goal were 15 – 11 in favor of Port Huron

Coming out in the second stanza, both teams split the shots on goal tally until Port Huron’s Dan Chartrand drew the first minor of the game for Hooking at 5:45. The resulting power play opportunity for Fraser was unsuccessful with only one shot. Prowler Dalton Jay got a patented short-handed breakaway but was denied at the gate. The Prowlers dominated the rest of the period with Fraser managing only two missed opportunities and a final attempt right at the buzzer. The Rockers were doubled up on shots 18 to 9 and managed no good scoring chances. Things started out in the third period much like the first. At 1:14 Vartianinen (15th of the season) picked right up where he left off. This time he picked up a drop pass from Sam Gagnon near the blue line, who picked up Evan Foley’s drop pass and powered his shot through a couple of screens to double up the score 4-2. Port Huron got a power play chance for a scant few moments on a Tripping minor assessed to Fraser’s Nicholas Magill-Diaz at 11:22 after a solid play that kept the home team out of the for most of the period thus far. Gino Mini got called for an Interference minor at 12:07 when Declan Conway failed to negotiate his way around and fell to the ice, to put the teams at even strength. 25 seconds later Prowler goalie Wyatt Hoflin was assessed an Interference minor after Conway skated through his crease and again lost his footing. Rockers’goalie Scott Blake was pulled for the extra attacker at 17:32 giving them what appeared to be the best puck possession of the night and with play to the left of Hoflin, a rink-wide pass to Everett Thompson allowed him to get the one-timer to a gaping back door goal, narrowing the gap to one goal. The ensuing face-off and dump into Fraser’s zone and play behind their goal, resulted in Dante Sufferdini’s Tripping minor to Liam Freeborn just taking the wind out of the Rockers’ sails. With less time remaining than the length of the penalty, Port Huron was in great shape to control the end of the game, and control it they did. At 18:45 Sam Marit (12th of the season) took Matt Graham’s pass across the slot, brought it back in, and beat Blake between the raised trapper and his shoulder to regain the three-goal lead. Thirty seconds later the Rockers pulled Blake for one last hurrah but that ended in an empty net goal by Liam Freeborn (13th of the season) at 19:53 who picked up a loose puck all by himself at the Fraser blue line and casually skated in for the easy tap in putting Port Huron up for good 6 to 3. This game like most of these teams this year had some dancing between them. Alex Johnson and Roman Gaudet would feel each other out with four seconds remaining but only drawing Unsportsmanlike Conduct minors. Shot totals favored the Prowlers 40-31 and the win gives them their fourth win in five games along with a 10-point lead over Fraser who has now dropped their last four. Port Huron plays host to the Motor City Rockers Saturday night at McMorran Arena, with puck drop at 6:05 pm.

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