Following a deep run in Nationals last spring that fell just short, the Junior Enforcers loaded up on expertise in the coaching department and talent on the ice and came back for another go at finishing the job this year. Elmira had the chance to get on the ice on Sunday as they took down Cortland by a 6-2 score in a scrimmage affair. Buffalo already managed to get two games in, taking down Lake Erie on the road 6-5 last Friday in overtime before falling in the Saturday affair at home 3-2 in the shootout.
With a few new faces continuing to trickle into the dressing room, the coaching staff went with the sure lines and pairings they knew they could trust the most and put Svens Sokolovskis between the pipes looking for a hot start. Buffalo despite having a couple of players out of the lineup looked primed and ready to get after the challenge of finally winning their first game on home ice, looking to Luke Reminyi in net.
Despite trading power play opportunities throughout the first period, neither team was able to cash in through twenty minutes of action and the two sides went to the dressing room deadlocked at 0-0. Each goaltender
produced some mighty big saves in the frame, and you don’t have to look much further than Svens’ coast-to-coast slide cross crease to knock a high shot out of the year or Reminyis’ split to prevent the puck from crawling through five hole.
The Junior Enforcers opened the scoring 1:12 into the second period when Logan Hawley ripped off a long slap shot from the point that was deflected in by Ty Ulanowicz to make it a 1-0 Elmira game. With 5:03 to go until the second intermission, the Stampede were able to answer back. Bryson Miller took an oddly bouncing puck from Caden Cranston and roared it in past Sokolovskis to set up a 1-1 tie going to the third.
Elmira roared back with three goals of their own to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the final minutes. First, sixty five seconds in to the period it was Jack St. Pierre meeting Lance Hamilton in stride. St. Pierre was playing heads up hockey and looked for the open man on the play, which happened to be Hamilton on the way to his goal. Anson Smith and Jack St. Pierre both trickled goals of their own home next just fifty-four seconds apart, in that order respectively. The Stampede then wouldn’t give up with Blake Dewey turning a stretch pass in to a wrist shot as the deficit for Buffalo was now just 4-2. Andrew Lozinak’s tally on the power play seconds later however, would seal the deal as the final goal of the game despite the Buffalo late press, making the game go final 5-2 Elmira.
The Junior Enforcers are back in action tomorrow night at 7:05pm as they host the Buffalo Stampede at the Murray Athletic Center in the teams’ 2021/22 USPHL Premier Season Home Opener. Plenty of tickets are still available and you can secure yours by visiting jrenforcers.com/tickets/ to avoid game days at the door.