Enforcers Pull within Two Points of Second Place
The Enforcers traveled to Watertown Friday night to take on the Watertown Wolves and make a run at second place in the FHL standings. Prior to the game, Elmira possessed a respectable (11-10-1-3) record which is rather impressive when considering how they started off the season. Elmira has recently pulled all of the strings together and has been making moves in the standings as well. Elmira sits just five points out of second place, and the team they are looking to catch just happens to be their opponent for the next two nights. Although, it is still early in the season, Friday and Saturday night serve as important games against the reigning FHL champions.
There was no such thing of a lack of scoring or entertainment in the 1stperiod as the fans of Watertown witnessed 5 goals in a seesaw battle between two offensive powerhouses. The Powerplay was heavily stressed throughout the week at the First Arena during the Enforcers' practice hours due to a lack of production so far this season. Elmira's captain, Ahmed Mahfouz, stressed putting more shots on net and less keep-away with the puck. The attention handed to the Powerplay this week was made worthwhile when Elmira capitalized on their first man advantage on the night. Manning the Powerplay, Mahfouz found Tyler Prendergast beside the net after some beautiful puck movement. In his first game as an Enforcer, Prendergast was off to a stellar start by putting Elmira up 1-0 just four minutes into the first period. After being the source for the man advantage, Gavin Yates made up for his mistake almost immediately. Just 22 seconds later, the game was tied as Yates sent a swift response back to the Elmira bench after putting home a rebound from Tyler Gjurich. Later in the period, Sean Reynolds took things upon himself to obtain the lead once again. After creating a turnover in Wolves territory, Reynolds picked up the puck and ripped it by the Watertown netminder from the top of the slot. The Enforcers spent a significant amount of time perfecting the Powerplay in practice this week, and the rest of the time was spent on coming up with a plan to stop the FHL's leading scorer Tyler Gjurich. However, it seems they left out a plan for Yates as he was able to strike again in the first period, getting the fans ready to throw their hats early. This marked Yates' 41stpoint on the year, ranking him 2ndin the league behind his teammate, Gjurich. Although, Watertown has their household names, Elmira has some of their own. Ahmed Mahfouz found the back of the net with approximately two minutes left in the period, slotting him just two shy of 700 points on his miraculous career. The FHL all-time leading scorer put the Enforcers up 3-2 after one period of play.
After a productive 1stperiod, the surge of the Elmira Powerplay proceeded into the second period. Ranking second-to-last in the FHL on the man advantage at 15.6%, it has become a necessity for the Elmira Special Teams Unit to form some chemistry if they plan on making a run in the playoffs this year. In his pregame interview, Mahfouz was extremely confident that his team was putting the pieces together, and the Powerplay would be coming together very soon. With that said, Elmira's captain is a man of his word as Elmira capitalized on another man advantage opportunity, making them two-for-two on the night. Prendergast continued on with his successful debut as an Enforcer, scoring the Powerplay goal and marking his second goal on the night. Not only is tonight's story about the emergence of the Elmira Powerplay, but also about the countdown of Ahmed Mahfouz. Once again, Mahfouz was able to set up another goal on the Powerplay, cutting him even closer to the "700" milestone at 699 points. After helping to put his team up 4-2 after two periods of play, his teammates were going to give it their all to return the favor by giving their teammate the opportunities to achieve this miraculous milestone by the end of the night.
It was only a matter of time before Gjurich found the back of the net. After recording two assists and setting up the Wolves' first two goals, Gjurich decided to do it himself this time. The former Elmira Jackal led the league in goals and points last season, and it is looking like the same tale this year. After showing off a fertile Powerplay of their own, Gjurich's third point of the game reduced the deficit to one at a score of 4-3. After the timely goal by the league's leading scorer, the Wolves refused to take their foot off the gas pedal. Halfway through the final period, Watertown outshot Elmira 10-2 before taking an undisciplined penalty. Fortunate for Elmira, this took some of the pressure off of Troy Passingham and shifted the momentum for two minutes. After finding success twice on the Powerplay in the first and second period, Elmira was unable to take advantage of the man advantage. Wasting no time, the Wolves were quickly back on the prowl after the conclusion of the Powerplay and looking to strike. Regardless of outshooting the Enforcers 18-9 in the 3rdperiod, Passingham and the Elmira defense refused to budge. In response to the Wolves pulling their netminder, Sean Reynolds launched the puck the length of the ice and into the net to seal a 5-3 victory for the Enforcers with 56 seconds remaining in the game.
Tonight's game was a barn-burning, teeter-totting, action-packed battle. Tomorrow night, the city of Elmira should expect nothing less than how tonight's game played out. With just 500 tickets remaining for tomorrow's rematch with the Wolves at 7:05 p.m. at the First Arena, tickets are expected to go quickly. Elmira will look to jump to second place in the FHL standings by knocking off the reigning champions two nights in a row. Not to forget, Ahmed Mahfouz sits at 699 career points and has a chance to reach the "700" milestone. Do not miss out, get your tickets now!
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Federal Hockey League Stories from January 11, 2019
- Ice Breakers Rally To Top Prowlers - Mentor Ice Breakers
- Enforcers Pull within Two Points of Second Place - Elmira Enforcers
- Wolves Come Up Short Against Enforcers - Watertown Wolves
- Carolina Grinds to 14th Straight Win - Carolina Thunderbirds
- Curl Signed as EBUG - Carolina Thunderbirds
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