Carolina Takes Down Columbus in Overtime, 3-2

Winston-Salem, NC – Trailing in the third period for the second night in a row against the Columbus River Dragons, the Carolina Thunderbirds found a late goal to force overtime, and 41 seconds into the extra frame, reigning FPHL MVP Gus Ford beat Talor Joseph to take two points from Columbus, 3-2. 

 Carolina (8-2-0) returned home to the Annex in front of another sold out crowd in Winston-Salem and took an early lead in the first. On the power play, Petr Panacek was left open for a tap-in goal on a centering pass from Jiri Pestuka giving the Thunderbirds a 1-0 advantage after the first 20 minutes.

 In the second period, Columbus (7-1-2) answered. At the 9:12 mark of the middle period, Ryan Hunter snapped one over Mario Cavaliere’s blocker tying the game at one. As the second period wore on, Columbus with just 92 seconds remaining in the period found a tap-in of its own. Alexander Jmaeff found a pass from Cody Wickline in the crease giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage heading to the third. 

 Carolina pushed for an equalizer as the third period went on, and with under five minutes remaining, the first line broke through. Dominic Dumas won a battle in the corner finding Gus Ford who snapped a pass to Dawson Baker who was left alone in the slot, rifling one past Talor Joseph, tying the game at two. Neither side could find a potential game winner over the next four minutes, and for the second night in a row, Carolina and Columbus needed overtime.

 Last night, the two sides went to a shootout where the Thunderbirds picked up the two points. On Saturday night, Ford ended the game quickly. Ford worked his way behind Joseph’s net and walked out in front of the crease pushing the game winner past Joseph just 41 seconds into overtime for his 100th regular season goal of his FPHL career and winning it for Carolina, 3-2. 

 Ford was named the 1st star with a goal and assist on the evening with Baker earning the 2nd star. Carolina netminder Mario Cavaliere was named the 3rd star stopping 33 of 35 shots he saw.

 The Thunderbirds return to action on Friday evening at home against the Port Huron Prowlers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Annex.