Columbus Ends 2021 With a Come-From-Behind Win Over Port Huron

Columbus, GA - The River Dragons won their final game of the 2021 calendar year coming from behind two different times to win over Port Huron 6-4 on New Year's Eve.

The first period started off hot with a fight breaking out just 3 seconds into the game between MJ Graham and Brennan Young. After the scrap, the Prowlers capitalized on this energy at the 2:15 mark with Cade Lambdin going bar down on a looping deflection with an assist from Dustin Henning, giving the Prowlers an early 1-0 lead. 

Austin Daae responded with not one, but two goals before the period was over. First, a backhand goal from him with Pietrantonio setting it up while the River Dragons were shorthanded to tie things up 1-1. Then, towards the end of the period Daae tallied another, this one coming after he was able to bank it off the Prowlers netminder from behind the goal line to give the River Dragons a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.

Port Huron struck first in the second period with Matt Graham tying things up 2-2 with a deflection goal from a Dalton Jay shot at the 4:10 mark. A lively tilt broke out between Justin Schmit and Nick Williams just 21 seconds later, much to the delight of the Columbus crowd. 

However, the fight once again energized Port Huron more and Dalton Jay tallied his first of the night with a goal off a deflection while the Prowlers were on the power play to put Port Huron up 3-2 at the 7:30 mark. Jay tallied another goal at the 9:56 mark to extend the Prowlers lead to 4-2 through 40 minutes of play. 

Columbus started the third period with renewed vigor and Jay Croop scored just 13 seconds into the period after finding the puck in the slot and sneaking it past Richard Shipman, to cut the lead to 4-3. 36 seconds later, Josh Pietrantonio produced a goal of his own with a one-timer assisted by Austin Daae and Adam Vannelli, tying the game at 4-4. 

Austin Daae secured a hat trick (his 2nd of the season) at the 11:13 mark with Adam Vannelli picking up the assist on a cross-crease pass to give the River Dragons the lead at 5-4. 1:12 later Jagger Williamson sealed the fate of the game with a goal of his own set up by a Jay Croop centering pass, increasing the lead to 6-4 for the River Dragons which would ultimately be the final score.

Some rough stuff at the end of the game including a fight between Edgars Ozolinsh and Matt Graham set up what is sure to be an entertaining third game of the 3-in-3 tomorrow night at the Civic Center.

Jared Rutledge takes the win, his 7th of the season with a 33 save night. Richard Shipman takes the loss in his pro debut with 41 saves on 47 River Dragons shots.

The finale of this three-game series is tomorrow at 7:30. Tickets available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster.

Three Stars of the Game

Austin Daae
Josh Pietrantonio
Jagger Williamson