River Dragons Mount 3-Goal Comeback In 3rd Period; O'Dea nets OT winner

Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons stormed back from a 3-goal deficit in the 3rd period and defeated the Elmira Enforcers in overtime on Sunday afternoon by a score of 5-4.

Elmira was in control in the first two periods of the game but it was Columbus who got on the board first when Gehrett Sargis sniped the top-left corner over Dillon Kelley at the 8:13 mark of the first. After that though, Elmira scored four straight through the first and second periods and continued to dictate the pace of play.

Brett Gravelle tied the game up at the 13:43 mark of the first period with a weird pinball bounce off of skates and the post to get his 6th of the season. Less than two minutes later, Blake Peavey found the back of the net to give Elmira a 2-1 lead over the Dragons going into the locker room.

Elmira would then continue to extend their lead when Gravelle found his second of the night 3:11 into the second. Midway through the middle frame a power play for Elmira netted Glen Patterson his second goal of the year after he camped out in front of Jared Rutledge and sent one home for a 4-1 lead that would last through 40 minutes.

The River Dragons were determined to get something out of the game though and came storming back in the third period, and spearheading the charge were a couple of offensive defenseman.

First, Nate O'Brien went coast-to-coast and around a few Enforcers defenders on the way to sliding a puck 5-hole and in for a 4-2 game 2:19 into the 3rd. The early goal got the Columbus legs moving and they drew a man advantage that Matt O'Dea would cash in on at the 6:21 mark of the period. Both defenseman's goals brought the Dragons within one.

As the game dwindled down though, Elmira was able to hunker down and keep their one-goal lead until the 16:39 mark of the period when CJ Stubbs drove the net and Vojtech Zemlicka put the puck right on his tape for a quick tap-in goal and a 4-4 game with just a few minutes to go.

Elmira re-composed themselves in the overtime frame winning a strong majority of the faceoffs and holding the puck for long chunks of the extra period. However, a turnover caused by Josh Pietrantonio sprang him and O'Dea on a 2-on-1 rush and the young defenseman made no mistake on the pass across from the Columbus captain to give the River Dragons two of the three points on the night.

Jared Rutledge got the overtime win for the Dragons, he stopped 27 of 31 shots in the contest. Dillon Kelley takes the overtime loss (his 3rd of the season) and made 43 saves on 48 River Dragons shots.

Columbus now looks forward to a two-game set with the Carolina Thunderbirds at the Civic Center on Friday and Saturday night. Friday's puck drop is at 7:35 and Saturday's puck drop is at 6:05. Tickets available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster, and Saturday's game will be shown on WTVM (9.1) locally over-the-air in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Three Stars of the Game
Matt O'Dea
Nate O'Brien
Josh Pietrantonio