Gjurich, Enforcers Top Ice Breakers to Open Weekend Set

By Jared Tennant

PHOTO: Dee Hannum

MENTOR, OH – A trio of Elmira Enforcers registered three points en route to a 5-2 win over the host Mentor Ice Breakers on Friday night. With the setback, Mentor saw its losing streak extended to 10 games in its first home contest since January 26.

Led by Tyler Gjurich’s two-goal, one-assist outing, Elmira’s consistent offensive effort allowed it to outshoot the Ice Breakers in every period, including 15-4 in the final frame. The Enforcers controlled play throughout the night, edging Mentor in shots 48-23 overall.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” said Ice Breakers Head Coach Iain Duncan. “We have to attack the game like it’s our last game.”

Unlike some of their recent losses, the Ice Breakers drew first blood. At 4:47 of the first period Steven Fowler sent a crisp backdoor pass to Henry Berger, who scored his fourth goal of the year on a one-timer. Tim Perks factored in with the secondary assist.

Just 10 minutes after Berger’s tally, Hudson Michealis tied the game at 1-1 with what proved to be the final goal of the opening period. Mentor netminder Frankie McClendon stopped 15 of 16 Enforcers shots in the first frame.

Elmira came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders in the second period, netting a pair of goals within the first 4:05. At 8:58, Isaiah Crawford tipped home a shot from the point by Dzmitry Daniliuk to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The first power play of the game for either side didn’t come until Josh Newberg was called for tripping early in the third period. The Enforcers capitalized with less than 30 seconds to go in the man advantage thanks to a rocket of a one-timer by Gjurich, who paces the FPHL with 17 power-play goals. He has nine more power-play goals than any other player in the league and his 37 goals are tops in the FPHL.

Dale Deon capped off the scoring at 9:52, sealing the 5-2 win for Elmira. Deon dished out two assists to notch his first three-point game since late January. Gjurich, Deon and Hudson Michaelis (one goal, two assists) each tallied three points while Stepan Timofeyev (two assists) and Andrew Harrison (one goal, one assist) also had productive nights.

Between the pipes, McClendon fell to 4-5-0-0 after stopping 43 of 48 shots while Elmira’s Joe Young improved to 8-1-0-0 on the year thanks to a 21-save performance. These same two teams will finish out the two-game weekend series tomorrow night on Cancer Awareness Night.