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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Heroics from Tiller Preserve Warriors Comeback Victory

By: Joey Battaino

After Friday nights embarrassing 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Bandits, the Warriors knew they had to bring a better effort into Saturday nights game against the first place Bandits.

It started much like Friday night, in a sense that the Bandits were winning the battles and holding the Warriors down in their own end of the ice for the better part of the first period. Fortunately, Brach Tiller was on his game, stopping all 11 shots St. Louis put on him in the first. There was no scoring after one period.

In the second, The Warriors picked up the pace. Drew Kariofiles was whistled for a penalty and A.J White scored his team leading 26th goal of the season on the power play. The Bandits quickly tied it up off a won draw by the captain and Davison, MI native Joe Kalisz. The original shot was stopped by Tiller but Kalisz got to his own rebound and shelfed it for his team leading 26th of the season. Kalisz would go on to have a record breaking weekend. He was a part of all 9 goals the Bandits scored against the Warriors. (3 G 6A) The Warriors received a too many men on the ice penalty at 7:31 and Josh Dangel scored to make it 2-1 St. Louis after 2.

In the third, Captain of the Warriors, Marty Gruse took a penalty and veteran Wes Elrod made the Warriors pay. He unleashed a cannon for about 45 feet that Tiller didn't even see. It was 3-1 Bandits and the goal appeared to be a back-breaker. But at 10:21, Chris Eckler scored his 12th of the season from Sheldon Taylor. It was 3-2 St. Louis. Then, Bandits D-man Brett Bauza was shown the gate for slashing. Sheldon Taylor scored his first as a Warriors to tie it up at 3. The building was rocking. The Warriors had answered the challenge of coach Moe Mantha and for the final act, Chris Eckler who's become a much more complete player this season scored his second of the night from B squared (Bobby Bodette and Bobby Mantha) to give the Warriors the lead with 2:08 to go in the game.

The next two minutes and eight seconds was the Brach Tiller show. He made 5 point blank saves on the St. Louis offensive specialists, robbing Joe Kalisz twice. The Warriors would hold on for a 4-3 victory. They now lead Jamestown by 7 points for the final playoff spot in the North division.

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