Columbus Explodes For 6 Goals In Come-From-Behind Win

Port Huron, MI – The Prowlers and River Dragons took the ice against each other for the second straight weekend and much like the story last Friday night, Columbus won a gritty back-and-forth game. This time by a score of 6-3.

Port Huron would dictate the play in the first period, scoring early through Matt Graham. His breakaway effort was denied by the crossbar for a moment but fell back into the crease off Jared Rutledge and into the net for the game’s opening goal 1:04 in. Dalton Young would add one about midway through the period as he read a clearout attempt from Columbus and bore down on net. His initial shot was saved but the rebound popped back to Young off his leg and in for a 2-0 Prowlers lead.

The score would remain at the break however Columbus would receive a 5-minute major power play near the end of the frame when Joe Pace Jr. kicked Will Laporte at the end of a scrum. Pace Jr. was assessed a match penalty and removed from the game. The league has suspended Pace pending review, after review he was suspended for 1 game.

It took two minutes into the second period for Columbus to find the back of the net. Jay Croop fired home a great backdoor feed from Ivan Bondarenko with 20 seconds left in the major. Columbus was down a goal still but were rolling.

About three minutes later MJ Graham tied the game up when Croop fed a nice pass from underneath the goal line to the slot and a one-timer rang the back bar and in, to the delight of the Columbus bench. Columbus would continue to roll with three more goals in a row, two of which were shorthanded. First, Zach Pease was Johnny On The Spot off a Jiri Pestuka shot. The rebound kicked right to Pease who buried his 4th of the season.

With a 3-2 lead heading into the third the River Dragons kept their foot on the gas with another goal from Croop and a second shorty of the night this time from newly acquired Aleh Shypitsyn who blasted one from just a top the left circle.

Facing a 5-2 scoreline Port Huron battled back with a power play goal from Matt Robertson on a circle-to-circle pass from Dalton Jay with about 12 minutes to go in the game. Port Huron would continue to apply pressure but Rutledge and co. were up to the task and an empty netter from Chase Fallis with about 30 seconds left in the game secured Columbus’ three points on the night.

Jared Rutledge earned his 3rd win of the season stopping 27 of 30 shots he faced. Chris Paulin took the loss, he made 34 saves on 39 shots.

The same two teams play for the fourth time in a row (and final game for a little while) Saturday night with a 6 P.M. puck drop at McMorran. The Burger King pregame show starts at 5:30 on WRCG.

Three Stars of the Game

Jay Croop
MJ Graham
Justin Portillo