River Dragons Win Back-and-Forth Affair On Road
Port Huron, MI - It was an electric atmosphere inside McMorran Arena with over 1,600 fans in attendance for the Prowlers home opener (largest crowd in Prowlers history too) but the River Dragons were able to spoil the mood with a 4-3 win in regulation to take all three points.
Columbus got on the board first in this one when a 2-on-1 developed for last weekend's shootout hero Jay Croop. Croop bore down from the right circle and faked a shot that froze Port Huron netminder Chris Paulin. A sliding block attempt by a defenseman took Paulin out of the play and allowed Croop to easily slot in the game's first goal. Columbus wasn't done this period however as Chad Herron was the recipient of a David Powlowski pass and after a spread eagle save by Paulin potted in his own rebound to make it 2-0.
Port Huron would respond before the buzzer though. With about 15 seconds left in the period and all kinds of traffic in front, newly acquired Dalton Young for the Prowlers fired a bullet from the left point that had eyes for the twine and hit the top-right corner. After 20 minutes, 2-1 Columbus.
The second period saw Port Huron take the lead for the first time on the weekend. First a bounce in front off of Justin Portillo leaked past Ryland Pashovitz and the game was tied on the power play. 1:04 later Zach Zulkanycz buried the puck after a 3-on-1 for Port Huron was set up with some good neutral zone movement.
It all seemed to be unraveling for Columbus but then the media timeout of the 2nd period hit and Columbus got the wind back in their sails. Back-to-back power plays were scored on first from MJ Graham who collected a rebound off a Jay Croop shot in the slot and it slid over the line to tie the game at 3. Then a little less than 2 minutes later Jay Croop got his second of the night after some good puck movement from his linemates Graham and Ivan Bondarenko.
In the third period the scoring stopped but not for lack of trying on Port Huron's part. Down a man late in the third Pashovitz played a puck around the boards that was read by the Prowlers penalty killers and set up a quick 2-on-0 with a centering feed in front. Pashovitz was able to hustle back to his net and reach back with the glove to deny Matt Graham otherwise the game would have been tied.
Port Huron had the goalie out for the last minute plus of the game but it was nothing doing as Pashovitz kept the door shut for his first professional win.
Ryland Pashovitz stopped 34 of 37 shots in the win, Chris Paulin took the loss after stopping 31 of 35.
Same two teams go at it again on Saturday night in McMorran same time too. 7:30 puck drop means a 7:00 pregame show on WRCG.
3 Stars of the Game
Jonathon Juliano (PH)