What a weekend it was in the FHL, after some hot offensive weekends, the goalies took their turn in the spotlight with FOUR combined shutouts on the weekend. Plus, last year’s regular season champs appear to have hit their stride.
All that and more in our weekly wrap-up!
Three Stars of the Week
THIRD STAR: Here come the Prowlers
We at BLH have been, I don’t want to say critical, but kind of curious about how Port Huron had struggled so much to start the season.
Well don’t look now, but the Prowlers have won four of five, including a sweep on home ice this past weekend with a hard-fought 3-2 win over a very tough Mentor team, and then a convincing 4-1 win over the Watertown Wolves on Saturday night.
As was the theme of the weekend, the Prowlers got great goaltending both nights, with Cory Simons stopping 34 shots in Friday’s win, and Chris Paulin making 41 saves in Saturday’s win.
Their hot streak, to go along with a pair of losses by Elmira in Carolina this weekend, has allowed the Prowlers to vault up to fourth place, with each team tied at 20 points. It seems the Prowlers have it figured out, and not a moment too soon. If Danville continues to struggle, they or Elmira could find themselves in a battle for third place.
SECOND STAR: Goalies glitter like gold
We mentioned the stellar performances by Port Huron’s pair, but there were four shutouts this weekend that they weren’t even part of!
In Friday’s game against Danville, Cody Karpinski back-stopped the visiting Watertown Wolves to a 2-0 win behind a whopping 50 saves! Outstanding performance against the second highest scoring team in the league. Then on Saturday night, Mentor’s Derek Moser got the Ice Breakers back on track with a 6-0 shutout win in which he made 28 saves. Needless to say, it was not a good weekend for the Dashers.
And this goes without mentioning a pair of great performances by Elmira’s Troy Passingham and Ryan Mulder in losses to Carolina.
Normally, these two performances might have been enough to get them individually mentioned in this section, but one goalie outshined everyone this weekend…
FIRST STAR: Christian Pavlas, Carolina
Pavlas, who had been great since joining the Thunderbirds after a stint in the SPHL, got both starts this weekend after their regular starter, Henry Dill, was called up by Macon of the SPHL.
So how did Pavlas respond? Perfectly. Literally. Pavlas posted a pair of shutout wins over Elmira, a 1-0 win on Friday, then a 2-0 victory on Saturday night. Pavlas racked up 46 saves in the two wins, a pretty low number for the FHL, so the Carolina defense also deserves a little bit of love here for keeping the Enforcers offense at bay.
In six games for Carolina this year, Pavlas is 5-1 with a glistening 1.00 GAA and .964 Sv%, and is tied for the league-lead with three shutouts. His GAA and Sv% would be tops in league if he qualified for the league leaders, but hasn’t amassed enough starts yet. He and Dill have given Carolina a goaltending duo that hasn’t been seen in years in the FHL.
Carolina Third Jersey Review
After scrapping the pre-game shootout idea, the Thunderbirds made waves this weekend with an FHL-rarity: a new third jersey! Take a look:
Pavlas shuts out Elmira again. Pargac and Mahoney score the goals in a 2-0 winhttps://t.co/ySt1nqCwSb pic.twitter.com/EUbHULGaxF
— Carolina T-Birds (@carolinatbirds) December 16, 2018
Pretty sharp! And in keeping with their Chicago Blackhawks look, it looks like Chicago’s original third jerseys from the 90s. They also have a much bigger Thunderbirds logo on the front, which is an improvement over the regular red jersey. I think these are a hit and should be worn on the regular.
Overall Grade: B+.
Tyler Gjurich, Watertown – 19
Gavin Yates, Watertown – 14
Ryan Marker, Danville – 13
Mark Essery, Mentor – 12
Yianni Liarakos, Port Huron – 12
Brandon Wahlin, Watertown – 22
Matt Graham, Port Huron – 19
Ryan Marker, Danville – 15
Gavin Yates, Watertown 14
Kyle Powell, Watertown – 14
Tyler Gjurich, Watertown – 29
Brandon Wahlin, Watertown – 28
Gavin Yates, Watertown – 28
Ryan Marker, Danville – 28
Two Tied with 24
Cody Karpinski, Watertown – 6
Five Tied with 5
Goals Against Average (NOTE: FHL requires goalies start 45% of games to qualify)
Henry Dill, Carolina – 1.86
Cory Simons, Port Huron – 3.07
Derek Moser, Mentor – 3.11
Troy Passingham, Elmira – 3.36
Matt Kaludis, Danville – 3.43
Save Percentage (NOTE: FHL requires goalies start 45% of games to qualify)
Henry Dill, Carolina – .924
Aaron Taylor, Danville – .920
Cory Simons, Port Huron – .920
Cody Karpinski, Watertown – .918
Matt Kaludis, Danville – .916
Derek Moser, Mentor – 3
Christian Pavlas, Carolina – 3
Henry Dill, Carolina – 2
Cody Karpinski, Watertown – 1
This Week’s Schedule
Friday, December 21
- Watertown at Port Huron, 7:00pm
- Danville at Carolina, 7:35pm
- Elmira at Mentor, 7:35pm
Saturday, December 22
- Watertown at Port Huron, 6:00pm
- Elmira at Mentor, 7:35pm
- Carolina at Danville, 7:05pm CST
Really, all three matchups this weekend are interesting, as Port Hurno gets a chance to try to pull closer to second-place Watertown, while we get an expansion showdown in Mentor that could either bury the Ice Breakers in the basement, or see them rise up and pass the Enforcers. Plus, we’ll find out if Danville can get things back on track with a home-and-home against the league leaders.