A Battle Against Binghamton This Weekend
Winston-Salem, NC – Following a split in Binghamton, New York nearly a month ago, the Carolina Thunderbirds are set to host the Binghamton Black Bears for the two sides final matchups in the regular season.
Since the last meeting, Carolina has rattled off seven straight victories, including a sweep of the Port Huron Prowlers last weekend in a three-game series. The Thunderbirds handled Port Huron in game one, 4-1, before needing an overtime winner from Jacob Schnapp in game two. In game three on Sunday, Carolina rattled off four unanswered goals across the final 21 minutes of the game to take a 5-3 victory and eight points on the weekend.
The Thunderbirds are led by forwards Gus Ford and Petr Panacek who both have 21 points. Ford has 12 goals on the campaign, good for a tie for second most goals in the league. Panacek has been a key factor in facilitating this season. The Vysocany, Czech Republic native has 18 assists on the year with six coming across the last three games. In the 5-3 win on Sunday, Dawson Baker recorded his second hat trick of his Thunderbirds career and totaled four points on the evening.
Netminder Mario Cavaliere continues to be a wall in the crease, picking up two more wins over the weekend. Cavaliere leads the FPHL in goals against average (1.96), save percentage (.935) and wins with 10. Backup netminder Frankie McClendon made his first appearance with Carolina this year on Sunday stopping 23 of 26 shots he faced.
Binghamton comes into this weekend as the leaders in the FPHL with 35 points on the season, losing only one game in regulation. The Black Bears have gone 5-1-0 since the two sides last met and are led by Nikita Ivashkin who has 20 points on the year. Forward Brandon Stanko, who totaled 27 points across 14 games, is listed as inactive. Goalie Samuel LiVecchi leads the trio of netminders for Binghamton with a 6-0-0 record and and 2.67 goals against average.
Carolina is tied with Columbus for first in the Continental Division heading into this weekend with 29 points. The Thunderbirds lead the all-time series against the Black Bears, 7-4-1, and Carolina leads the series in Winston-Salem, 3-1-1.
Game one between Carolina and Binghamton is scheduled for Friday evening with puck drop at 7:35 p.m. Game Two is on Saturday starting at 6:05 p.m. Tickets are still available for both games this weekend. Tickets can be bought online on Ticketmaster or fans can purchase tickets in person at the Annex Box Office. Both games will be broadcasted on Thunderbirds TV and on WTOB 980 AM.