River Dragons Win Back-And-Forth Affair in Columbus on Friday Night

Columbus, GA - The River Dragons broke a four-game losing streak by defeating the Port Huron Prowlers on Friday night by a score of 5-4.

A slow start plagued both teams in the first period after the two team travelled from Biloxi for the game the night before. The Prowlers broke through first tallying their first goal from Larri Vartianen at the 15:22 mark that put the team up 1-0 which marked the only goal of the period. After 20 minutes of play shots on goal were only eight a piece.

The second period saw a revitalized Columbus team come out early and often, with Austin Daae wasting no time in putting the River Dragons on the board with an even-strength goal at the 0:41 mark, tying the game at one. Just 24 seconds later Jay Croop produced a goal of his own, sniping the top right corner assisted by MJ Graham and Jagger Williamson which gave the River Dragons their first lead of the night at 2-1. A few minutes later, Josh Pietrantonio added to the momentum with a goal at the 3:33 mark sliding home a big rebound coughed up by Cory Simons, contributing to a 3-1 lead for Columbus. 

Midway through the second period, Daae hit the back of the net for the second time of the night with a breakaway goal at the 10:44 mark to put the River Dragons up 4-1. The Prowlers came back near the end of the second with a goal at the 16:42 mark from Larri Vartianen, scoring off of a 2-on-1 marking his second of the game to put the game at 4-2 in favor of Columbus.

The River Dragons defense was dominant until the Prowlers stepped on the gas with a power play goal from Dalton Jay at the 8:51 mark to put the Prowlers within a goal and set the score to 4-3 with Columbus still ahead. Columbus thought they had restored their two goal lead after a scrum near the crease saw the puck go in, but the officials waved the goal off for a high stick and in the same play assessed a high sticking penalty to MJ Graham in the same motion.

As the Port Huron power play stepped back onto the ice full of confidence, Zachary Fresura tied things up for Port Huron on a breakaway at the 11:09 mark to tie the game at 4-4. 

32 seconds after the Prowlers tied the game up, Brad Nolan was left all alone in the slot as part of a 3-on-1 break and scored at the 11:39 mark with assists from MJ Graham and Jay Croop to give the River Dragons a 5-4 lead and was ultimately the game-winning goal.

Jared Rutledge secures the win with an 18-save night, Cory Simons takes the loss after a busy night and 38 saves.

The same two teams go at it for the third of a 3-in-3 Saturday night in the Civic Center. 7:30 puck drop and tickets available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster.

Three Stars of the Game

Austin Daae

Brad Nolan

Larri Vartianen