ICE BREAKERS RALLY TO TOP PROWLERS

By Jared Tennant

PHOTO: Dee Hannum

Mentor, OH—In a game in which they racked up a staggering 61 shots on goal, the Mentor Ice Breakers rallied from a two-goal deficit late in the second period en route to a 4-3 win over the visiting Port Huron Prowlers on Friday night at Mentor Civic Ice Arena.

Things looked grim for Mentor early on when Jonathon Juliano deflected a puck over the shoulder of Ice Breakers starter John Sellie-Hanson to give Port Huron an early 1-0 advantage. Tom Kilgore and Edgars Ozolins notched assists on the goal, which came under two minutes into the contest. Kilgore was playing in his first game after the Prowlers acquired him in a trade with the Carolina Thunderbirds earlier this week.

Despite leading shots on goal by a 24-6 margin, the Ice Breakers were unable to get anything past Prowlers netminder Chris Paulin, who has been shelled with 156 shots in his three starts this season. Paulin has responded quite well to the heavy workload, logging a 2.68 goals-against average to go along with a sparkling .949 save percentage.

A little under six minutes into the second period, Ice Breakers forward Patrick Porkka took a stick to the face that gave Mentor a four-minute power play. Unfortunately for the Ice Breakers, Prowlers forward Matt Robertson scored on a 2-on-1 fast break just 14 seconds into his team’s penalty kill, giving Port Huron a 2-0 lead.

Paulin continued to frustrate Mentor until Gordy Bonnel took control of the game late in the second period. Bonnel scored his first goal of the night at 17:03 off assists from Thomas McKinnon and Nate Farrington. Bonnel struck again with 26 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 2-2 and give the Ice Breakers all the momentum as the two clubs headed into the second intermission. Brody Duncan and Alex Morrow added assists on Bonnel’s second goal.

Mentor came out with a ton of energy in the third period and took the lead at 4:18 when Farrington fired a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Paulin. It appeared that Mentor was on its way to an easy win when Vaughn Clouston finished a behind-the-net pass from Matt Kadolph at 11:06 to make it a 4-2 game, but the Prowlers did not go down without a fight.

Port Huron forward Zachary Zulkanycz beat Sellie-Hanson on a wrist shot just 36 seconds after Clouston’s goal to cut Mentor’s lead in half. Dalton Jay and Matt Robertson contributed assists on the goal as the Prowlers looked to rally from a two-goal deficit of their own.

The Ice Breakers held on over the final 10 minutes of regulation despite several quality chances from the Prowlers. Sellie-Hanson was arguably at his best in the third when he made a series of stellar saves, including a point-blank stop on a backhanded attempt by Kilgore in the final seconds of the game.

Paulin played an outstanding game but earned a tough-luck loss after stopping 57 of the 61 shots he faced. The Lockport, New York native fell to 2-1-0 on the campaign but he certainly earned the respect of the Ice Breakers and their fans.

Both sides came up empty on the man advantage as Mentor went 0-for-3 on the power play while Port Huron failed to score on both of its power-play opportunities. These two teams are back in action tomorrow night from McMorran Place in Port Huron, Michigan.

The Ice Breakers, proud members of the Federal Hockey League, are in their inaugural season. Single-game tickets and ticket packages are available 24/7 online at mentoricebreakers.com/tickets. They can also be purchased at the box office prior to every home game or by calling (440) 290-8502.