Fraser, MI — The I-94 Rivalry belongs to the Motor City Rockers for the first season.
With an overtime win on Friday night in Port Huron and a win at Big Boy Arena on Saturday, the Rockers took the season series 9-7 over the Prowlers in a weekend sweep. Motor City has also won six straight games as it continues to prove it is one of the hottest teams in the FPHL as the playoffs quickly approach.On Friday night, Motor City used the power play to take its initial lead at McMorran Place.
As time was winding down with the man advantage the puck was along the nearside wall and at the skates of Derek Makimaa. Makimaa slid the puck to the point to Nick Magill-Diaz who offered a hard slap pass to the far side post to Brad Reitter who slammed home the puck for a 1-0 lead with 13:12 to play in the first period. It was his sixth power play goal of the season.
The Prowlers were able to wipe out the lead to even the first period with its second power play of the night.
As Scott Coash was in the box for tripping, the ensuing faceoff was won by Evan Foley on the far side circle. Alex Johnson slid the puck from the point to Matt Stoia’s stick where he blasted a hard shot to the top shelf for his third power play goal of the season three seconds into the man advantage for a 1-1 game with 3:18 to play in the first period.
The second period belonged to Motor City as the Rockers built a two goal lead.
With 13:14 left in the period, Roman Gaudet intercepted an entry pass at center ice near the blue line. He immediately hit Tommy Cardinal with a touch pass to create a breakaway. Cardinal carried the puck the rest of the way, and finished at the goal line with a backhand shot for a 2-1 lead for his 20th of the season.
Two and a half minutes later, the Rockers added to its lead when Cade Lambdin offered a big hit to Alex Johnson as he was trying to breakout the puck in the defensive zone. Reitter picked up the puck in the high slot and walked in a goal for a 3-1 lead with 10:48 to play in the second period.
Just as the second belonged to Motor City, the third belonged to Port Huron who erased the two goal deficit.
After cashing in already on the power play, the Prowlers cashed in late in the third to pull within one when Gino Mini fed the puck to the far side dot to Alex Johnson who fired a blast over the shoulder of Blake Scott for his second power play goal of the season in a 3-2 game with 6:36 to play.
Three minutes later, Port Huron drew up a hail mary to tie the score.
As the puck lay behind the end line, Stoia flipped it high towards the McMorran Place rafters as he saw a teammate double covered at center ice. Sam Merit secured the puck as he snuck past Josh Colten for a breakaway that he finished for a goal in a 3-3 game with 3:39 to play that forced overtime.
Early in the overtime period, Dante Suffredini created a turnover at center ice that Coash chased down and put away the game winning goal with 1:39 into the extra frame.
Saturday night was more comfortable, but tenuous thanks to a hat-trick by Declan Conway, and stout defense late in the third period, the Rockers skated to a 5-4 win.
Motor City was buoyed in the first period by two of Conway’s three goals, with the first coming 1:02 into the period on the power play.
Josh Colten held the puck at the far side point and slid it to Coash atop the near circle. Coash fired the puck on net, but Conway bunted the puck with his stick into the net for a 1-0 lead.
12 minutes later, Conway struck again thanks to a breakout pass from Roman Gaudet.
Gaudet held the puck at center ice and walked it into the offensive zone. As he crossed the blue line, he saucered the puck to Conway who fired in his second goal of the night and a 2-0 lead just beating Brian Tallieu under his left arm.
The Prowlers were able to get a goal back in the second period off the stick of Evan Foley who caught a perfect rebound off the leg of Blake Scott and snuck the puck into the nearside post for his 17th of the season 1:21 into the middle frame.
But Motor City kept the pressure on.
Midway through the 2nd Derek Makimaa carried the puck along the nearside boards and sniped the top left corner of the net for his 21st goal of the season for a 3-1 lead with 13:14 to play. The Rockers added another power play goal when Dante Suffredini finally broke through the five-hole for a 4-1 lead with 1:11 left in the period for his third power play goal of the year, sixth of the season.
The Prowlers clawed their way back into the game thanks to three power play goals broken up by Conway’s third of the night.
The first power play goal was scored by Frank Schumacher that cut the lead in half, 4-2 with 12:36 to play in the final frame. The next two were scored off the stick of Matt Stoia who peppered the night from outside and notched three goals on the weekend. As Port Huron pulled within one, 5-4, they had to get another goal to force overtime with 36 seconds to play. The Rockers welcomed the moment and stood tall pinning the puck in along the boards and not allowing another shot to preserve the win.
Motor City will travel to Mississippi to face the Sea Wolves on Friday and Saturday before the Sea Wolves come to Fraser to wrap up the season for two games in two weeks. The FPHL Playoffs will begin on April 21st. Tickets can be purchased at MCRockershockey.com/tickets.