Carolina falls in the shootout in season opener

ELMIRA, N.Y.- The Carolina Thunderbirds fell to the Elmira Enforcers to open to 2021 season on Wednesday night, 4-3 in the shootout.

“It was our first game,” said head coach Andre Niec. “It looked like it.”

The Thunderbirds opened the game by taking two penalties just 1:15 apart from each other. While the Thunderbirds killed the Elmira 5-on-3, Carolina struggled out of the gate to create chances.

Zack Quinn shone in net in the first and through the whole game, stopping 39 of 42 shots.

“I felt good,” said Quinn, “if I had 42 shots in college, I would have been gassed.”

The Enforcers broke through on a shot from the far faceoff circle 6:07 into the second period. Carson Vance scored logging his first of the season.

Just seven minutes later, Brandon Tucker buried a feed from Tyler Gjurich to make it 2-0 Enforcers.

However, George Holt provided the spark for Carolina, blasting a slapper by Troy Passingham to make it 2-1.

The Thunderbirds would tie the game in the third period when Ethan Busch-Anderson redirected a pass from Josh Koepplinger on the powerplay in the third period.

“I just wanted to put it on net and make him make a sace

It was only 32 seconds later when Tyler Gjurich scored on a turnover behind the net.

Desperate for a goal and running after a time after a failed powerplay attempt, Josh Koepplinger rifled a shot inside the far goal post to make it three all.

After an overtime period when Petr Panacek was stopped on a breakaway, Tyler Gjurich scored in the fifth and sixth inning of the shootout to clinch the bonus point for Elmira.   

Carolina falls to 0-0-0-1, but earned a point in the standings and hopped Port Huron for third place in the four-team league. Elmira has earned a point or more in each of their games this season and advances to 2-0-2-1.