Buttitta’s Powerplay goal brings Carolina Friday night victory

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds outlasted the Danbury Hat Tricks on Friday night, collecting their 23rd regulation win of the season. Tory McLean and Jacob Schnapp joined John Buttitta on the scoresheet, helping Carolina to the 4-2 victory.

Danbury hadn’t touched Carolina ice since January 2nd, a game they won 5-4 in OT. The Thunderbirds hadn’t collected a victory over the Hat Tricks since the night before, a 6-2 New Year’s victory. Jonny Ruiz got Danbury off on the right foot, burying a Tyler Noseworthy rebound for his 46th goal of the season. John MacDonald scored off a 2-on-1 a few minutes later, and the Hat Tricks had stunned the Carolina crowd. The Thunderbirds began to mount an attack midway through the period, eventually outshooting Danbury 12-10 at the end of 20 minutes but still trailing.

Carolina’s net-front presence paid off in the early second period, as Tory McLean swept a rebound past Pete DiSalvo. Tommy Cardinal and Joe Cangelosi picked up assists on the Carolina lamp-lighter. Phil Bronner ran his shoulder throught Viktor Grebennikov’s jaw later in the period, putting Carolina on a five-minute powerplay. Jacob Schnapp cut into the slot from the left-wing circle, snapped a puck past DiSalvo, and tied the game at 2-2. Just two minutes after, Blake Peavey fed John Buttitta for a backdoor tap-in, giving the Thunderbirds their first lead of the game.

The Hat Tricks mounted a strong push in the third period, outshooting Carolina 16-8 in the frame. Chris Paulin held his ground, en-route to a 34-save win. The Hat Tricks would pulltheir goalie while shorthanded in the game’s final minutes, and John Buttitta’s empty net goal proved to be icing on the cake.

Game two of a rare two-game weekend is set for Saturday night at 6:05pm. Carolina looks for its first home sweep since defeating the Delaware Thunder on January 15th and 16th.