Berube Scores in Shootout- Scott Brand Earns Win on Bench
Winston-Salem, NC –Berube Scores Game-Winner in T-Birds First Ever Shoot-Out, 3-2 Carolina.
How It Happened
Without the services of Head Coach Andre Niec the Carolina Thunderbirds would travel to Danville to play the Dashers. Instead it would be President and GM of the Thunderbirds, Scott Brand, earning the win on the bench for Carolina. The defending champion Dashers sit at 5-5 in their last 10 games, while the Thunderbirds are 3-7. In the first of a two-game matchup between the squads, it would be the 11th game played between the teams this season, and the 5th such series played in Danville.
In net for the Thunderbirds it would be Christian Pavlas getting the nod, sporting a 3-12 record with a 5.26 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage. For the Dashers they would ride the hot hand, Matt Kaludis, who defeated the Thunderbirds in 2 out of 3 games in the Dashers first visit to Winston-Salem back in January. Kaludis has a 11-8-1 record, with a 3.29 goal-against average and a .906 save percentage. He also leads the league in shutouts with 3.
On just the second shift of the game the physical play would show itself, a big hit by Alex Vazquez of Carolina on the Dashers Michael Dolman would see the two drop the gloves for a good scrap early on. Shortly after however it would be Danville breaking through, when Brandon Whalin would cut-in on Pavlas’ net and stick-handle the puck past him to make it 1-0 at 3:28 of the frame. Jon Stevanovich and Dustin Henning would assist on the goal. Another fight would follow, with Josh Pietrantonio stepping up for his teammate Jay Croop and dropping the gloves with Alex Basey, the player whose sucker-punch would injure Croop earlier in the season. The spark would work for the Carolina offense, and a good lead pass by Chase Fallis would find Michael Bunn cutting in on the near-side of the ice. He would deke back towards the middle, fooling both the defense and Kaludis, firing the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at 15:09 of the period. Fallis and Ryan Rotondi would get the assists, their 6th and 5th respectively for the season so far, while Bunn’s goal is his team-leading 18th of the season. The teams would skate into the intermission tied at 1, with the shots 13-8 in favor of Carolina.
The two teams would continue to battle end-to-end in the 2nd period, keeping up the pace from the first period. Both teams would trade good chances, but eventually the Thunderbirds would break through. A good pass from Tom Kilgore would find Jay Croop in front of the net. Croop would patiently skate past both the defense of Danville as well as Kaludis to fire it in back-hand to make it 2-1 Thunderbirds. The goal is Croop’s 10th of the season, with Kilgore’s 16th assist at 14:28 of the period. A late cross-checking call on Dominik Fejt would send the Dashers onto a power-play for the remaining 1:48 of the 2nd period, but the power-play would not carry over. With just 1 second left Andrew Harrison would find the back of the net to tie the game up at 2 once again, with the assists going to Matt Coleman and Dustin Henning. Henning’s assist, his 2nd of the game and 13th of the season, with Coleman’s assist going as his 16th of the season. Shots on goal would read 22-19 after 2 periods, with the score knotted at 2 headed into the 3rd period.
The teams would combine for 29 shots in the 3rd period, but neither team could find the back of the net. Early on it was the Dashers with the lions share of the offensive pressure, but late in the 3rd, Dasher captain Justin Levac would take a 5-minute butt-ending penalty, coupled with a 10-minute game misconduct, and a 10-minute abuse of officials game misconduct. On the ensuing power-play the Thunderbirds could not score in regulation, nor overtime.
The Thunderbirds would out-shoot Danville 4-0 in the OT frame, but once again, befitting of a goaltender’s duel, the game would go to a shootout.
In the first round the Thunderbirds would shoot first, and Michael Bunn would beat Kaludis short-side, low, to make it 1-0 Carolina. Brandon Whalin of the Dashers would respond with a strong deke move to beat Pavlas, tying the shootout at 1. Jay Croop would shoot next, and his shot would be snagged by the toe of Kaludis’ pads, sending it wide. Vincent Caliguri would also shoot in round 2, but would again be stopped by Pavlas. In round 3 Tom Kilgore would be stopped by Kaludis, as would Brausen for the Dashers. In round 4 it would be Jason Berube racing in, then changing speeds and firing the shot through the legs of Kaludis. At the other end Whalin would come back out, but this time Pavlas was up to the task, making the save. At the start of round 5 it would be Ray Boudiette scoring easily to secure the win, 3-2.
In the loss, Kaludis would stop 43 of 46, while at the other end Christian Pavlas earns his 4th win of the season, making 32 saves in the process.
Michael Bunn’s 1st period goal is his 18th of the season, which is the most on the Thunderbirds so far, this season.
The assist by Jon Stevanovich in the 1st period is his 1st assist and 2nd point as a Dasher in 13 games played.
The shootout is the first ever in Thunderbirds history.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will stay in Danville, Illinois for game 2 against the Dashers. On Saturday February 3rd the two teams will skate at 8:00 pm EST with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 7:35 pm on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. For more information please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).