By David Dell
PORT HURON- The defending 2021-2022 Commissioner’s Cup champions Watertown (New York) Wolves came to town for a two-game series Friday night and took the first points of the weekend. The scoring started out slow with play going through nearly 15 minutes of the first period before Elijah Wilson started things off for the Wolves at 14:46, beating Prowler goalie Wyatt Hoflin low on the stick side with the backhand, after freezing him in the crease. A bit over a minute later at 15:57 Donovan Tehan of Watertown put Port Huron on their first powerplay of the evening and Matt Stoia (6th of the season) took advantage at 16:30 to tie the game. Frank Schumacher brought the puck around the Wolves’ goal and from the Advia corner got it to Alex Johnson halfway up the zone along the right-wing boards. Stoia wide open at the blue line, lined up Johnson’s pass, and sniped Adam Wisco’s top shelf on the glove side of the net. The teams would head off after 20 minutes tied at one. Port Huron had the shots on goal advantage 13-10.
The second frame started with a Stoia penalty at 1:58 for Cross Checking but the Wolves were unable to convert. The game was played pretty evenly until 7:11 when Watertown’s Chris Corgan and Port Huron’s Adam Heinzl both drew Cross Checking and Roughing minors after Heinzl felt Corgan was too aggressive with Hoflin who had frozen the puck on the left side of the cage. With the teams skating 4 on 4, Bryan Parsons picked up a minor for Hooking at 8:06. Again, Watertown failed to score on the man advantage. Wolves Timothy Paine put Tory McLean into the boards at 10:33 who took exception and they took to dancing. McLean and Paine both picked up Fighting majors with McLean drawing an additional two minutes for Unsportsmanlike Conduct and a Game Ejection for Derogatory Language when he voiced his displeasure towards the Watertown bench as he was being escorted to the penalty box. Port Huron’s penalty kills shut down Watertown on this their fourth power play but Port Huron would fail to convert on a pair of Wolves’ penalties to end the period. Watertown managed to double up the Prowlers in shots 16 to 8 for the period, but the score remained knotted at one each.
Watertown broke the tie at 2:52 with Elijah Wilson potting his second goal and Parker Moskal adding to his team-leading points at 6:50. Both goals coming on the even-strength play. Dalton Jay picked up a rare Tripping minor when he and a Wolves player got tangled up at the Prowler’s blue line at 8:55 and then on a Bench minor for Too Many Men at 15:53 Port Huron was 100 percent on the penalty kill over nine infractions. Down by two, Wyatt Hoflin was pulled at 18:24 and Watertown took advantage with an empty net goal 17 seconds later. With the score now 4-1, and still the extra attacker Port Huron poured on the coals. Red lights by Matt Graham (16th of the season) and Dalton Jay (32nd of the season) were not enough at the final horn. Joe Deveny shoveled a backhand pass from the boards to Sam Marit just right of the slot. Marit’s shot was turned away at the right side of the cage where Graham was able to flip it over the glove of Wisco at 19:37. Seconds later Evan Foley grabbed a pass at the face-off circle and went tape to tape with Frank Schumacher at the top of the zone, near the blue line. The officials had a delayed penalty against the Wolves, a player having Austin Fetterly tied up behind the goal ultimately ripping his helmet off as Schumacher’s rifle shot was stopped by Wisco. The rebound came out to Jay down low on the left wing where he easily wristed the puck into a wide-open net. Time remaining at 12.1 seconds the Prowlers won the ensuing face-off but lost the puck to Watertown who dumped it deep into Port Huron’s zone. The Prowlers were unable to get any more offense as time expired. The loss puts Port Huron seven points behind third place in the Continental Division. 1,060 fans watched the teams go 36 and 36 on shots on goal and got some exciting last-minute action. The Prowlers take on Watertown again Saturday night.