MacIntyre scores game-winner in Thunderbirds triumph

WINSTON-SALEM- The 2019 Commissioner’s Cup champion Carolina Thunderbirds, proud members of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, defeated the Elmira Enforcers 4-2 on Saturday at the Annex.

“In a game where we had a couple of guys feeling a little sick, I thought we controlled most of that game,” said head coach Andre Niec, “I’m glad we won that one.”

Hudson Michaelis opened the scoring for Elmira 15:24 into the first period, tallying his sixth goal of the season. For the first time this year, Carolina trailed at the end of the first period.

The Thunderbirds answered when Joe Cangelosi scored his fifth of the season midway through the second. The Thunderbirds took the lead on Jan Krivohlavek’s 10th goal of the year.

Elmira tied the game when Brendan Tucker buried a feed from Michaelis on the powerplay. The Enforcers, who came into the game as the next-to-last powerplay in the league, scored only the sixth goal against the Thunderbirds top-rated penalty kill.

At the 6:01 mark of the third, Steve MacIntyre buried his first goal of the season, and it would prove to be the game-winner.

“I’m excited for Steve, it’s good that he plays and scores because he’s typically known as an enforcer and there he proves he’s still a great hockey player,” said Niec.

Michael Bunn added his seventh of the year as icing on the cake late in the third.

The Thunderbirds peppered Elmira goalie Troy Passingham with 65 shots. It’s the seventh straight game Carolina has had 50 or more shots on goal. Thunderbirds goaltender Patrik Polivka finished stopping 18-of-20 and remains perfect with a 5-0 record.

The Thunderbirds improve to 15-1-0-0 on the season, notching their 11th consecutive win. They have now beaten Elmira 19 times in 21 tries including in the playoffs.

For Carolina, the victory marks their 99th win in team history, and the Thunderbirds will go for 100 tomorrow night.

The Enforcers fall to 7-7-1-1 on the season.

The two teams will rematch tomorrow in Winston-Salem at 6:05 p.m. for Carolina’s teddy bear toss and ugly sweater night.