WATERTOWN — With the team in desperate need of a win, Tyler Gjurich and Jeremy Pominville delivered Saturday night to provide the Watertown Wolves with a lift.
Gjurich scored twice, including the game-winning goal one minute and seven seconds into overtime as the Wolves rallied to defeat the Elmira Enforcers, 3-2, in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game in front of a crowd of 1,010 at Watertown Municipal Arena.
“That was a grind, we needed that win big time,” Gjurich said.
Pominville made 27 saves for Watertown (15-12), which stormed back from a one-goal deficit in the third period.
“It hasn’t been easy this past stretch, I guess,” Pominville said. “We stuck with it tonight and got the win, it feels great.”
The Wolves, who played their third game in as many nights, rebounded after a 5-4 loss to Elmira on Friday night in Watertown.
“This was a big character win for us,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said. “Wins like that can really get you going in the right direction and get guys believing.”
“It’s great,” Gjurich said. “Guys are tired obviously in a three-in-three (nights), but it’s big getting this one going into next week.”
After losing their previous three games, including a loss at Danbury on Thursday, Watertown responded by winning for the first time at home in the New Year.
“It’s kind of been up and down,” Pominville said of his season. “I’ve had some good games where I’ve gotten lucky and others when it wasn’t so good. And the end of day, you just have to battle through all that.”
Watertown tied the score at 2-2 on Kyle Powell’s goal with 5:54 remaining in regulation as he deflected a feed from Deric Boudreau past Elmira goalie Troy Passingham (48 saves).
“After we got that goal, it was almost like a calming feeling,” Pominville said. “And we just shut it down and dominated the rest of the game.”
Gjurich followed with the deciding goal as he directed in a Michael Desjarlais drive on the Wolves’ third shot on goal in overtime.
“I gave it to Mike, Mike skated in and just threw it over right on to my stick,” Gjurich said.
Pominville stopped all six shots he faced in the third period, including denying Andrew Harrison with a minute left in regulation, and didn’t have to make a save in the extra session.
“I thought we played a lot better defensively tonight,” MacLean said. “And that was probably one of Pominville’s better games.”
Pominville started every game this week for Watertown and earned his 11th win of the season on Saturday.
“It’s been a tough schedule, so getting that win was a big relief for be personally,” Pominville said. “Overall, it was a great team win for us tonight.”
The Wolves pulled out the win while they were down to 13 skaters when rookie Dallas Desjarlais went down with an injury in the third period.
“We’re short guys right now, so to battle like that with basically six forwards and four (defensemen), is huge,” Gjurich said. “It’s big when guys like Mike Desjarlais are playing (defense).”
Trailing 2-0 midway through the game, the Wolves closed to within 2-1 while on a 5-on-3 man advantage as Gjurich finished off a cross-ice pass from Corey Sherman, sending a one-timer from left side past goalie Troy Passingham with 4:16 left in the second period.
Second-place Watertown turned back Eastern Division foe and fourth-place Elmira after the Enforcers won three of the first four meetings this season.
Powell totaled a goal and two assists for the Wolves and Michael Desjarlais assisted on two goals.
Longtime FHL forward Ahmed Mahfouz scored a goal and assisted on another for Elmira (13-14).
The Enforcers led 1-0 on Hudson Michealis’ power-play goal with 3:36 left in the first period, with Mahfouz assisting.
Elmira struck once again on the power play 9:47 into the second period as Mahfouz fired in a feed from Dale Deon, beating Pominville up high.
Both Watertown and Elmira will face one another nine more times in the regular season, with the next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22 in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Fairgrounds Arena.
“It’s a long season, so I think tonight just shows what we can do when just stick together,” Pominville said.
“Thank God we have a couple days off,” MacLean added. “It’s just really been physically and mentally tough.”
n NOTES: This was the third overtime game of the season for the Wolves as they lost the previous two. ... Watertown will host Columbus next Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ... Gjurich has scored 25 goals in 27 games this season. ... He has also totaled 19 points, including eight goals, in his past seven games. ... With his two points on Saturday, Mahfouz, who is in his 10th season in the league, moved to within points shy of reaching the 8,000-point plateau in his pro career.