Carolina Scores 3 Unanswered Late, Fall 5-3 to Port Huron
Winston-Salem, NC –Carolina Scores 3 Unanswered Late, Fall 5-3 to Port Huron.
How It Happened
The Carolina Thunderbirds would travel north for the last time in the regular-season to take on the 1st place team in the league, the Port Huron Prowlers. On a 24-game winning streak, the Prowlers last loss came against the Thunderbirds on January 26th in overtime, and the last time Port Huron lost a game in regulation it was way back on December 3rd against Carolina. Both teams have locked in their playoff position for the first round of the post-season, but Friday night’s game represents the first of 4 in-a-row between the two teams to finish out the season.
The Prowlers would start Cory Simons in net, the Crystal Lake, Illinois native has a 9-1 record this season with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. For Carolina Chris Paulin would get his first back-to-back start of the season, after earning the win last Sunday against Danville, 4-2. Paulin enters action with a 6-4 record alongside a 3.41 goals-against average and a .885 save percentage.
Both teams would skate end to end, trading offensive chances at both ends of the ice. The Prowlers would have several chances on net but were unable to find the net. The defensive lapses for Carolina would continue, and finally at 15:25 of the period Austin Daae would find the back of the net. Daae’s shot from the near wall would have eyes and find it’s way in past Paulin, making it 1-0 Port Huron. Matt Robertson and Branden Parkhouse would assist on the goal, which is Daae’s 26th of the season. Play would continue to swing end-to-end, but with under a minute left the Prowlers would take advantage once again. At 19:17, Matt Graham would drop a pass for Dalton Jay, who would go top shelf past Paulin to make it 2-0 Port Huron. Graham and Jonathan Juliano would assist on Jay’s team-leading 37th goal of the season. A slashing penalty on Michael Bunn at the end of the period would give the Prowlers a power-play to start the 2nd period. The teams would skate into the locker room with the shots tied up at 12.
In the 2nd period the Prowlers would keep up their offensive pressure and add further to their lead. The early power-play after Bunn’s slashing call would be killed off by Carolina. At 2:52 of the period Matt Robertson would find the back of the net on a break-out and make it 3-0 Port Huron. Shortly after Matt Graham and Jay Kenney would tangle down low populating the penalty boxes once again. Graham would take a roughing minor and Kenney would be assessed a fighting major. The teams would skate 4-a-side for 2 minutes, before Port Huron would have a 3-minute man advantage. While a man-up they would capitalize, when at 8:44 Robertson would get his 2nd of the game, Daae and Graham assisting. The Prowlers would not be done in the period, and at 17:39 Graham would set up Timofeyev in front of the net to make it 5-0 headed into the 2nd intermission. Port Huron would out-shoot Carolina 16-6 in the period and lead 29-18 in that category after 2.
Carolina would find their stride in the 3rd period and take it to the Prowlers. Frequent chances by Carolina would eventually manifest in a Jason Berube goal at 8:49 of the period. Tom Kilgore would assist on Berube’s 8th of the season. Carolina would not be finished, and at 12:37 of the period Jiri Pestuka would slide the puck past Simons to make it a 5-3 game. Michael Bunn and CJ Blaszka would assist on the goal, Pestuka’s 18th of the season. Carolina would not be finished, as at 19:18 of the period CJ Blaszka would make an end-to-end rush and put home a rebound to make it a 2-goal game. The Prowlers would hang on to make it a 5-3 victory, out-shooting Carolina 39-36.
In the loss Chris Paulin would stop 34 of 39, while in the win Cory Simons would turn aside 33 of 36.
Michael Bunn continues his strong play, with his assist tonight he now has 11 points in his last 6 games.
Port Huron is now 1 win away from finishing with the best record in FHL History.
The Thunderbirds’ final road game of the regular season will take place Saturday, March 31, with a 7:30 pm EST puck drop. Tune in on the Thunderbirds Radio Network with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 7:05 pm. For more information about the Thunderbirds please call 336-774-GOAL(4625) or log on to www.carolinathunderbirds.com