Back-And-Forth Game Sees Carolina Lose to Watertown For Second Time
Watertown, NY – The Carolina Thunderbirds played in a thrilling start to their weekend series against the Watertown Wolves but unfortunately came up on the wrong end of a 4-3 score line at the end of the night.
The loss marks a couple of firsts for Carolina this season. It is the first time Carolina has lost on a Friday night, winning their previous 16 Friday games this season. It is also the first time the Thunderbirds lost in the State of New York this season going 6-0 in Elmira (4-0) and Watertown (2-0 previously) combined. Lastly, it is the first time the Thunderbirds have lost consecutive games to the same opponent, last time Carolina and Watertown met was Sunday February 10, a 3-2 Watertown win in the Annex.
Moving on to the game, Watertown jumped out to the early lead when one of the newest Wolves Yianni Liarakos scored his 15th goal of the year on a wrister in the slot that appeared to beat Christian Pavlas low blocker. Carolina would quickly respond 38 seconds later with a power play goal from Michael Bunn that fluttered in from the center point past Watertown’s Jared Rutledge.
The two teams would trade goals again in the period and Carolina jumped out to a lead when Josh Pietrantonio wrapped in a goal from behind the net to make it 2-1 Thunderbirds. Watertown protested the net was off on the wraparound to no avail. The Wolves would answer 1:24 later though as Lane King scored on a juicy rebound given up by Pavlas.
A Zamboni malfunction during the first period ice resurface saw the 1st intermission go double its usual length, and this seemed to cool off both team’s offenses.
While shots still came in bunches for both teams, it was Watertown securing the period’s only goal. After being denied by Pavlas on a breakaway Tim Santopaolo collected his own rebound from behind the goal line and appeared to bank it in off of the Carolina goalie. Pavlas extended and thought he knocked the puck away in time, but the referee and goal judge disagreed with Pavlas’ claims.
With a tense atmosphere the third period began with Carolina throwing everything at Jared Rutledge. At the end of the 3rd Carolina would log 23 total shots in the final 20 minutes and about six minutes into the period, Carolina got their equalizer from Peter Cicmanec who stopped a shot cold in the slot and fired it low past Rutledge.
The game seemed destined for overtime until an ill-fated turnover prompted a Watertown shooting gallery on Christian Pavlas. Posts were hit, diving saves were made until a shot from Aleh Shypitsyn went off the backboards and sat nice and pretty for Anton Kalinin to tap home with less than three minutes to play.
Carolina would pull Pavlas with about a minute and a half to go but to no avail as Watertown centers continually won draws to prevent Carolina from setting up many promising chances late.
Jared Rutledge got the win in this one stopping 52 of 55 shots, Christian Pavlas took the loss, he stopped 26 of 30 shots from Watertown.
Same two teams go at it again, same time same place. 7:35 puck drop means a 7:10 pregame show on the Carolina Thunderbirds broadcast network.
Three Stars of the Game
Anton Kalinin (WTR)
Yianni Liarakos (WTR)
Jared Rutledge (WTR)
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds have set an FHL record again, breaking their own record with over 66,000 fans through the doors this season.