Keep on Rolling

Winston-Salem, NC – After winning 10 out of their last 11 games, the Carolina Thunderbirds prepare for the Blue Ridge Bobcats on Friday night in Wytheville, Virginia and the Columbus River Dragons on Saturday at home at the Annex. 


The Thunderbirds are off to the second best start in franchise history with a record of 14-3-0 but sit in second in the Continental division of the FPHL with 38 points, trailing on Columbus who currently have 41 with a game in hand. 


Since November 11th, Carolina has only lost one game, a 2-1 loss against the Binghamton Black Bears on December 8th. This season, Carolina has picked up two overtime wins and two shootout wins, the most in the FPHL. The Thunderbirds hold a goal differential of +27, tied for the second best in the league, while the power play is working at a 25 percent rate and the Thunderbirds have killed 83 percent of penalties. In their 3-1 victory last Saturday against the Port Huron Prowlers, all three Thunderbirds goals came on special teams, two on the power play and one on the penalty kill. 


The Thunderbirds this season against Blue Ridge are undefeated, taking down the Bobcats in all four meetings this season, including a 4-3 victory in the last matchup on November 18th. In four games, Carolina has outscored the Bobcats 19-6. Since the last meeting, Blue Ridge has gone 5-3, coming off a loss to Columbus last Saturday. Blue Ridge is led by Jakub Volf who has 17 points on the season, nine goals and eight assists. Former Thunderbirds, Danny Martin and Cody Oakes, have a combined 15 points on the season. 


Columbus comes into Saturday’s game after an off night on Friday and have won six games in a row. The River Dragons lead the league in goal differential with a +42 and are averaging 5.0 goals per game. The Thunderbirds took both meetings this year against Columbus with a 2-1 shootout victory on November 24th and a 3-2 overtime win on the 25th. This year, Columbus has yet to play a team outside of the Continental division, facing Baton Rouge six times and Mississippi five times. Justin MacDonald paces the River Dragons with 30 points on the season while Cody Wickline has 27. 


Saturday night’s game marks the first of four straight games against the River Dragons, with the two sides playing three games in a row on December 29th, 30th, and 31st


Puck drop against Blue Ridge on Friday night at the Apex Center is set for 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on Thunderbirds TV while the game will also be available locally on radio on WTOB 980 AM with the Voice of the Thunderbirds, Brendan Reilly, on the call. Saturday night’s matchup is slated for a 6:05 p.m. puck drop from the Annex for the Thunderbirds and River Dragons. Fans can buy tickets on Ticketmaster or at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex Box Office.