Carolina Falls to Columbus, 4-3

Winston-Salem, NC – Despite a goal with 37 seconds left by Clay Keeley, the Carolina Thunderbirds fell to the Columbus River Dragons, 4-3, Saturday night at the Annex. 


Carolina (16-5-0) struck first early in the 1st period with Jan Salak beating Columbus (15-2-2) netminder Breandan Colgan giving the Thunderbirds the early 1-0 lead. The Thunderbirds held the lead for a majority of the period before Josh Pietrantonio tied it up on a shot from the half boards sending the two sides to the dressing rooms tied at one. 


In the 2nd, Carolina regained the lead on a deflection from Jacob Schnapp after a shot from the point by Justin Movalli, but the lead disappeared late in the second. On a 5-on-3 opportunity, Kyle Moore scored with only 25 seconds to go in the period, once again tying the game, 2-2. Columbus started the 3rd period on the power play but after Carolina killed the penalty, the River Dragons once again went on the man advantage. 


Off the faceoff, Justin MacDonald found Austin Daae at the near dot slotting one past Cavaliere, giving the River Dragons the lead for good. Three minutes later, Moore got his second of the night extending the lead to two, 4-2, at the 5:35 mark of the 3rd period. 


Carolina had one last charge on the power play with the extra attacker on with an empty net, and with 37 seconds left, Clay Keeley notched his first FPHL goal of his career on a rebound, cutting the deficit to one, 4-3. After the goal, the Thunderbirds couldn’t find a late equalizer, and fell to the River Dragons, 4-3.


Gus Ford with two assists was named the 3rd star, while Pietrantonio got 2nd star honors, and Moore named the 1st star of the evening. 


Carolina and Columbus conclude their three-game series on Sunday evening at the Annex. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:35 p.m. from Winston-Salem on New Year’s Eve.