Carolina Set to Clash with Port Huron
Winston-Salem, NC – Riding a four-game win streak, the Carolina Thunderbirds welcome in the Port Huron Prowlers for a three-game series this weekend at the Annex. Carolina is coming off a pair of sweeps over the Blue Ridge Bobcats and the Columbus River Dragons.
Last weekend in a home-and-home series, the Thunderbirds took a 2-1 shootout win over Columbus at the Columbus Civic Center before winning in overtime, 3-2, on Saturday in Winston-Salem. Carolina took four points from the Continental Division leaders and sit two points back of Columbus for first in the Continental Division. Friday’s matchup against the Prowlers will be the 55th all time matchup between the two sides with Carolina leading the series, 35-16-3. In Winston-Salem, the Thunderbirds hold a 17-7-2 record.
Gus Ford, who scored the game winner in overtime on Saturday, also notched his 100th career FPHL goal, the first ever Thunderbird to reach the century mark. Ford has 11 goals on the campaign which has him in third in the FPHL. Of those 11 goals, four have been on the power play, and six have been game winning goals. Ford leads the Thunderbirds in points this season with 17 over the first 10 games. Petr Panacek leads Carolina with 12 assists this season good for a tie for sixth in the league. He opened the scoring in the first period last Saturday with his third goal of the season.
Carolina’s special teams have been special through ten games this year. The Thunderbirds are second in the FPHL working at a 25% rate (11-for-44) on the power play this season, while the penalty kill has killed off 88 percent penalties. Mario Cavaliere has been a wall between the pipes this season. Cavaliere currently ranks first in GAA (2.08), save percentage (.932) and wins (8).
Port Huron enters this weekend at 5-4-1 to start out the year with 15 points in fourth in the Continental Division. The Prowlers have won three of their last four with a pair of wins over Baton Rouge and a win over Mississippi. Port Huron is led by forward Brandon Picard who has 13 points across nine contests. Netminder Makar Sokolov has three wins this season and has played in nine games, holding a 3.66 GAA and a .900 save percentage.
The Prowlers have struggled on the penalty kill this season giving up 14 power play goals, third most in the league, and have the lowest PK rate in the league at 69 percent. On the power play though, Port Huron is 16-for-66, good for 24 percent, fourth in the FPHL.
Game one of the series is set for Friday evening with puck drop scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Annex in Winston-Salem. Game two is on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. while the series concludes on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. Tickets are still available for all three games. To purchase, go to Ticketmaster.com or head to the Annex Box Office at 421 W 27th St in Winston-Salem.
If you can’t make it to the Annex this weekend, both games will be broadcasted on Thunderbirds TV (YouTube) and on the radio on WTOB 980 AM.