By David Dell
PORT HURON- Sporting patriotic sweaters in commemoration of Veterans’ Day and all who have served the nation, the Prowlers hosted the Motor City Rockers from Fraser Saturday night in front of an impressive 1,821 fans.
Unlike Friday night’s game in Fraser, where Port Huron looked to be on their heels the entire game and dropped a 7-1 decision, the tempo and play felt much more refined. Both teams seemed more refined and restrained in reactionary emotion.
After 20 minutes of play, the score was still blank on McMorran’s vintage green, incandescent bulb scoreboard that harkens back to the Port Huron Flags and Port Huron Wings days of the 60s and 70s. Port Huron’s Brandon Deck gave Fraser a single power play on a Cross Checking minor that put a visitor hard into the glass at the scorer’s table at 6:12 and Fraser gave Port Huron 3 of their 11 power plays on the night with Mike Winn’s Holding, Brad Reitter’s High Sticking and Derek Makimaa’s double minor High Sticking call. Makimaa’s stick rode Alex Johnson’s, with the blade coming to rest in Johnson’s right eye socket. He would leave the game, only to return in the 3rd period sporting four new stitches to his upper eyelid. The Prowlers dominated with 18 to 7 shots on goal.
The second period evened things out a bit, but Braden Deck drew a minor Holding call at 3:34, but Port Huron was able to kill the penalty. Brandon Picard started the scoring (2nd of the season) with a goal fed from Tucker Scantlebury and Matt Graham. The score came at 10:37. Fraser’s Ryan Rotundi picked up an Elbowing minor at 13:39, but Port Huron did nothing with it. Thomas Delany sat for a minor Hooking penalty at 17:24, and again the Prowlers didn’t capitalize. In a similar fashion as Friday night in Fraser, Bryan Parson added a goal (2nd of the season) with just seconds remaining in the period at 19:54. He was assisted by Evan Foley. Shots favored Port Huron 16-13. In the 3rd stanza, Adam Heinzl, who drew a lot of attention on the road Friday night, picked up a Cross Checking minor at 5:17, and Frank Schumacher gave the Rockers a 5-on-3 a minute later on a Roughing call. Declan Conway took advantage of the wide-open ice to halve the score at 6:52. Josh Colten evened things up on the remaining Schumacher power play at 8:03. Jameson Milam put the Rockers ahead for the first time in the night with an even-strength tally at 14:45. While the crowd was very much in the game for both teams, that would be the end of the scoring but not the end of the rivalry for the night. Tucker Scantlebury was called for Charging at 16:00, and then with 00:41 remaining in regulation, the Babin goonery started back up. What began with a series of about 3 cross-checks from Babin to the back of Prowlers’ Matt Graham, followed by a cup-check by Babin with his stick raised between Graham’s legs, Graham turned to face Babin. Scantlebury and Parsons jumped in to separate everyone with a few swings of the fists; a brouhaha ensued with Babin being 6’2”, dragged a Prowler towards the boards and overpowered them to the ice with blows. Babin leads the league among goalies with three or more seasons with 185 penalty minutes. 144 more than the next goalie, Christian Pavlas, with 41. This total includes six minutes from Saturday night: cross-checking, Roughing, and Unsportsmanlike Conduct. It is this writer’s opinion that Babin should have been ejected from the game with possibly a suspension for his actions. There is no place in hockey at any level for his behavior.
Port Huron finished with 43 shots on goal, but the power play unit came up with a goose egg on 11 chances.
The Prowlers are 0-4 in the Interstate 94 rivalry with the Rockers and have a 1-3-1-1 record in the Continental Division. They travel south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a pair of games Friday against one of this year’s expansion teams, the Zydeco, before heading west to Biloxi, Mississippi, for two games against the Sea Wolves. December 1, 2, and 3 Port Huron will be in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to play the Thunderbirds before their next game at home on December 8 against the Motor City Rockers in another home-and-home weekend.