GAME RECAP: Rockers at Port Huron Prowlers 10/20/23
GAME RECAP: Rockers vs. Blue Ridge Bobcats 10/27/23

GAME RECAP: Rockers at Port Huron Prowlers 10/21/23

Weekend Sweep

Last season, the Motor City Rockers kicked off their inaugural campaign with back-to-back losses to the Port Huron Prowlers, one at home and one on the road. This season, the two Michigan rivals started with two games in Port Huron against each other with a much different outcome. Friday night, the Rockers mounted a late comeback down 2-0 to force overtime before Scott Coash sealed the 3-2 win in the extra session. Saturday night at McMorran, Motor City won by the same score, but this time in regulation to take five of a possible six points back home in a wildly successful opening weekend.

It was the same goaltending match-up as the opener as once again Trevor Babin patrolled the crease for Motor City, while Ian Wallace was between the pipes for Port Huron. Just like Friday night, the Prowlers would strike first in the rematch with a powerplay tally. Alex Johnson blasted a one-timer on a feed from Matt Stoia that Babin stopped, but that left a juicy rebound for rookie Davide Gaeta who smacked in his first goal in his first FPHL game for the 1-0 lead. At the other end, Wallace stopped all 13 Motor City shots he faced, although it was wild how many times the net happened to come off its moorings at whatever end Wallace was playing in. Odd how Babin didn't seem to have this problem at all. It's a good thing I wasn't doing shots for every time the net magically came off with Wallace in front of it, I'd still be passed out. And to make matters clear, this was an issue in both games, not just some crazy coincidence. The teams went to the locker room with the Prowlers up 1-0.

As they did in the third period Friday, Port Huron closed the first period in this game with a string of undisciplined penalties that led to the Rockers having significant time on a five-on-three powerplay. Motor City was unable to get many quality chances at first, but leave it to their leading goal scorer Scott Coash to break the drought. He took a feed from Josh Colten and rocketed a shot from just outside the middle of the face-off circles past Wallace for his second of the young season, tying the game at one. Give Dante Suffredini the other assist on the goal. Things reversed a bit later in the period when the Rockers took a few less than ideal penalties and Port Huron took advantage on a powerplay goal reminiscent of their first. Alex Johnson fed Matt Stoia for the one time blast that Babin stopped, but that left a nice rebound on the doorstep for Sam Marit to poke in for his first of the season at 14:10 to put the Prowlers back up 2-1. The Rockers were able to even it up again before the end of the period on a beauty of a goal. Derek Makimaa picked up a loose puck deep in his own end and fed it ahead to rookie Pavel Svintsov who gained the zone and control of the puck, dropped a backhand pass to new addition Rocco DiCostanzo, and Rocco did what Motor City needs him to do, burying his first goal as a Rocker at 18:46 to knot things at two after two.

The third period was not as lopsided as it was Friday. Port Huron actually outshot Motor City this time 10-7, but the only goal would come from Rocker defenseman Nick Magill-Diaz at the 6:05 mark. Magill-Diaz broke in the Port Huron zone on a two-on-one with Makimaa and fired it from the face-off circle to the right of Wallace, beating him clean for his first of the season. The helpers on the game winning goal went to Roman Gaudet and Jamie Milam. Babin and the Rockers defense were able to shut the door the rest of the way, allowing Motor City to come out of the weekend with two wins and five points in the standings.

I know the season has just started but these games against Port Huron are crucial for Motor City's placement in the division standings. Playing the Prowlers eighteen times means a lot of where Motor City will finish in the Continental Division will hinge on how they do against their I-94 rival, so this is a great start for the Rockers. Motor City now prepares for their home opener Friday at Big Boy Arena against one of the FPHL's new expansion teams this season, the Wytheville, Virginia based Blue Ridge Bobcats. It'll be the first of ten contests between the two teams, who will also face each other Saturday in Fraser as well. 

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