WATERTOWN — Tyler Gjurich scored plenty of goals at the Watertown Municipal Ice Arena for the Watertown Wolves and that continued Wednesday with his new team.
Gjurich scored twice for his new club as the Elmira Enforcers beat the Wolves, 6-3, in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game.
He came over as part of a blockbuster trade Monday and Watertown received forwards Tanner Hildebrandt, Dustin Skinner, Gavin Yates, Eli Kinsman, and goalie Michael Stiliadis.
“It feels weird being out there as an opponent because guys like (Wolves defenseman) Kyle Powell were like my brothers,” Gjurich said.
Kyle Stevens recorded a goal and four assists on his 25th birthday and new acquisition Zach Pease logged a goal and two assists for Elmira (16-12-2), which leaped over Watertown for second place in the FPHL Eastern Division on both points and win percentage.
Dominik Bogdziul netted a pair of goals and Stiliadis made 30 saves in his first start for the Wolves (15-13-2), who have lost three straight games.
Gjruich was part of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup champions and was the league’s forward of the year and top scorer the last two seasons with Watertown. Elmira head coach Brent Clarke is still getting used to seeing Gjurich suit up for his team.
“I kept looking down the bench wondering who is this 22,” Clarke said. “It’s nice to have him our side because he was clutch for us.”
The Enforcers also added Pease from the Columbus River Dragons on Sunday for financial considerations. Elmira’s new acquisitions make a formidable power play that can score goals.
“Pease and Stevens are two great players and we gelled great together,” Gjurich said. “We got to keep building chemistry to be a championship team.”
Stiliadis was the most active of Watertown’s new acquisitions as he kept his new club in the game with some key saves in the second and third periods.
“I thought he played pretty well,” Watertown head coach Paul MacLean said. “We’ve got a pretty good tandem in Pommer (Jeremy Pominville) and him.”
It was a chance for the Wolves to give regular starting goalie Jeremy Pominville a night off. Pominville had appeared in every game so far this season and has played over 1,480 minutes so far this season.
“He needs a break because his body has been shutting down,” Bogdziul said.
Elmira got started quickly with a goal by Pease one minute, 14 seconds into the first period before Deric Boudreau tied the game 3:13 later. Stevens helps Elmira answer 15 seconds later to re-establish the lead. The Enforcers’ quick answers was a theme for the evening as they scored immediately after each Wolves’ goal.
“You got to work harder on a shift after a goal and we scored twice,” Gjurich said.
Gjurich thought he scored his first goal for his new team 7:02 into the first period but the officials ruled he kicked the puck into the net. He finally scored 9:18 into the second period to give Elmira the lead for good.
“If we managed to keep it 4-3, it could have been a different game,” MacLean said.
Bogdziul gave Watertown hope with a great solo-effort goal 1:07 into the third period before Gjurich scored 43 seconds later to give Elmira a 5-3 lead. Ahmed Mahfouz tacked on an empty-net goal with eight seconds left.
The Wolves play a pivotal three-game series Friday through Sunday against the Delaware Thunder at the Delaware Fairgrounds Center Ice Arena.
“We need the whole nine points I think,” Bogdziul said. “We need to bear down every game and treat it like a playoff game.”
n NOTES: The Wolves and the Thunder made a trade Wednesday as Watertown received Kristers Bormanis and Niktia Sidenko for the newly acquired Skinner.