Dismal 2nd period sinks Thunderbirds in Columbus, 6-1

Columbus, GA – The Carolina Thunderbirds dropped three points to the Columbus River Dragons Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center. The loss marks Carolina’s fourth of the season, and second to Columbus in three meetings this year.

After Thunderbirds waiver pickup Ramil Talipov hit the post early in the first period, it would be the River Dragons who opened the scoring. With Daniel Martin in the box tripping, Jake Grade wristed home his first FPHL goal to give the River Dragons the lead. The powerplay goal was Columbus’ first of the season, after going 0/18 to start the season. Columbus would carry the 1-0 lead into the locker room, outshooting Carolina 14-10.

Six minutes in the second period drastically changed the course of the game. Out of a goal mouth scramble, Jagger Williamson would score less than three minutes into the frame to put Columbus ahead by two. Trevor Finch and Brad Nolan would add goals, and before the halfway mark of the game it was 4-0. Carolina would have a glimmer of hope in the 2nd, with MJ Graham and Josh Pietrantonio’s penalties giving them a brief 5-on-3. Graham would be released, but Daniel Martin buried a slapshot from the left wing circle with the Columbus captain still in the box. Martin’s fourth goal of the season would be Carolina’s only goal of the game, despite outshooting the River Dragons 17-6 in the second.

Jay Croop would add a powerplay goal late in the third period, and Dalton Anderson’s shorthanded goal put things to bed at 6-1. Rookie goaltender Bailey MacBurnie earned his first FPHL win and 1st star honors with 40 saves on 41 shots.

Both teams travel back to Winston-Salem for the second leg of this back-to-back. Saturday night’s puck drop is scheduled for 6:05pm.