Kuznetsov’s 2nd sinks Thunderbirds in overtime

Winston-Salem, NC – A game that had Thunderbirds fans hopeful for a weekend sweep ended in disappointment Saturday night with Dmitry Kuznetsov’s overtime goal. Carolina ends the weekend series with four of a possible six points against the Hat Tricks.

Chris Paulin got the start for the Thunderbirds just 24 hours after relieving an injured Nick Modica. The start would mark Paulin’s first taste of back-to-back action this season. An even first period ended scoreless despite Carolina outshooting Danbury 12-9.

Pucks began to find the back of the net in the second period, with Jonny Ruiz breaking the ice. While changing lines in the offensive zone, Gordy Bonnel slipped into the play undetected. On the rotation, he found the Hat Tricks Captain all alone in front of the goal. Eight minutes later, Dmitry Kuznetsov turned on the jets through the neutral zone to score on a breakaway. The goal was Kuznetsov’s 8th of the season and put Danbury ahead 2-0. Carolina battled back later in the period as Bryan Moore found Cody Oakes on the weak side. Oakes’ second goal in as many games gave Carolina life going into the third.

Midway through the third period, Bryan Moore would drop the gloves with Dzmitry Daniliuk deep in the Hat Trick’s zone. Moore would also be assessed a game misconduct for spearing before the fight. After killing off 4:58 of the major penalty, Scotty Donahue found George Holt for a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 2-2 and bringing the Fairgrounds Annex to its feet. Play would open up after that, but neither team could find the back of the net. Saturday night was destined for overtime.

Only one shot was needed in overtime, and it came off the stick of Kuznetsov once again. A carbon copy of his first goal, the Russian deked around Chris Paulin on a breakaway to win the game.

Carolina enters its bye week at 4-5-1-1. They travel up to Port Huron December 9th for their first meeting with the Prowlers this year. Puck drop from McMorran Arena is set for 7:05.