Roudebush's Record-Setting Night Powers Ice Breakers Past Prowlers

By Jared Tennant

PHOTO: Dee Hannum

Mentor, OH – The Port Huron Prowlers were relentless in racking up 47 shots over the final two periods on Saturday night at Mentor Ice Arena, but first-year netminder Austyn Roudebush stood on his head on a career night, making 54 total saves in a 6-3 Ice Breakers win. Mentor was able to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to the Prowlers the night before that saw Port Huron pull ahead 4-0 early in the third period.

Roudebush’s 54-save effort set a new Ice Breakers franchise record for saves in game by one goaltender, surpassing Derek Moser’s 50 saves in Mentor’s first win in team history last November against the Prowlers. Roudebush is the only netminder that has manned the Ice Breakers crease this season and has garnered more playing time than any other FPHL goaltender. His efforts allowed the Ice Breakers to improve their record to 8-3-0-0 despite being out-shot 57-37.

“ You definitely fatigue a little bit, but it’s more on the mental side,” said Roudebush. “You’ve just got to put it behind you and focus on stopping that puck. Rebounding from last night is a great feeling. Port Huron is a great team that moves the puck well and has a lot of good shooters.”

Prowlers forward Justin Portillo put the visitors on the board early with a tally at 5:42 of the opening frame, his third goal of the two-game weekend series. It took Mentor less than five minutes to respond with a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play by its top line as Declan Conway fed Parker Moskal, who fired a pass to Jon Buttitta on the backdoor for a one-time finish.

The two teams remained tied at the conclusion of the first period, but Dalton Jay was called for slashing at the buzzer, a minor penalty which carried over into the second frame. It took Mentor 51 seconds to capitalize on the man advantage as Conway scored off assists from Brody Duncan and Alex Morrow, giving the Ice Breakers a 2-1 lead.

At 8:14, Zachary Zulkanycz scored to knot the contest back up at 2-2 before Parker Moskal deked around Prowlers netminder Chris Paulin for his seventh goal of the season at 9:45. Later in the frame, Conway found twine once again with Dzmitry Daniliuk being credited with an assist, giving the Ice Breakers their biggest lead of the night at 4-2.

The Prowlers crawled back within a goal after Zulkanycz netted his second of the night just over three minutes into the final frame, but Ice Breakers veteran forward Thomas Stuart-Dant came up with a pair of clutch goals, including a power-play tally at 17:52 to seal the 6-3 victory. Heading into the matchup, the eighth-year pro had yet to find the back of the net through his first two appearances as an Ice Breaker.

“It’s nice to get the monkey off the back,” Stuart-Dant said. “My first couple of games it was frustrating not scoring or helping the team on the scoreboard. Getting points is always great, but I want to help the team win and that’s always going to come first.”

Conway led all scorers with a pair of goals and two assists while Moskal and Buttitta, the league’s top two scorers heading into the game, each scored and dished out an assist. Blueliners Dzmitry Daniliuk and Brody Duncan both had two assists.

For the Prowlers, Zulkanycz scored twice while David Nippard collected two assists. Veteran forward Matt Robertson notched his 300th career FPHL point with an assist on his team’s third goal, making him the fifth player in league history to reach that figure. In goal, Chris Paulin made 31 saves and fell to 3-4-0-0.

With the conclusion of their four-game homestand, the Ice Breakers will now prepare for a three-game matchup down in Georgia against the Columbus River Dragons. The two teams will battle next Wednesday night before taking a day off for Thanksgiving and finishing up the three-game set on Friday and Saturday.