Making History: Thunderbirds All Alone In Record Books With 22nd Straight Win

Danville, IL - The Carolina Thunderbirds rewrote a page of the FHL record books Saturday night by defeating the Danville Dashers 4-3 for their 22nd straight victory. The previous record holders were the 2010-11 New York Aviators and the 2017-18 Port Huron Prowlers.

Carolina jumped onto the scoreboard first with a power play goal courtesy of their captain Josh Pietrantonio. After a Karel Drahorad shot pinged the post and went off of Pietrantonio behind the net, the Thunderbirds captain picked up the puck in stride and put it in on a wrap around past Matt Kaludis.

There was only one goal in the first period, but plenty of talking points as the physicality was high from the puck drop. Even the benches got into a bit of a screaming match during the first media timeout. Needless to say tensions were high in the David S Palmer Arena.

The second period saw more of an offensive explosion with four goals being scored between the two teams.

Jan Salak doubled the Carolina lead just 31 seconds into the frame when he fired one past a screened Kaludis. Danville would get themselves back into the game first with a goal from a 3-on-1 rush scored by Fred Hein, who had a penalty expire just in time to join the odd man rush situation.

Later in the second Danville would tie the game with a 5-on-3 goal scored by Ryan Alves with some beautiful one touch passing in close on Carolina goalie Christian Pavlas. The Thunderbirds would take a lead into the locker room though after Karel Drahorad fired one home from distance for his 12th on the year and third in the last three games.

With a 3-2 game going into the third the physical defensive style play returned to the ice and it wasn't until more than halfway through the period that the game would get its next goal, and it came from Danville on the power play with Nathan Pelligra on a deflection hitting the crossbar and getting the right bounce to put it over the goal line before Pavlas could get to it.

With the Palmer arena in a frenzy due to a tied game and a chance to break the Thunderbirds' streak, the crowd was quickly silenced by Michael Bunn who fired a point shot past Kaludis just 15 seconds later to restore Carolina's one-goal lead.

Danville was pushing bodies forward as time dwindled down. Kaludis was pulled with a minute to go in the contest and Dashers' coach Rod Davidson called his timeout with an offensive zone draw looming and eight seconds left on the clock. Danville won the faceoff but then couldn't get it out of the corner in time for a shot against Pavlas. The clock hit zero and the Thunderbirds celebrated the FHL's longest winning streak in its nine year history.

Christian Pavlas got the win stopping 18 of 21 shots in this one. Matt Kaludis gets the loss with 47 of 51 saves to his credit.

The Thunderbirds now look to continue their winning ways at home with a three-in-three set coming against the Watertown Wolves. The series starts Friday night at the Annex, tickets available at the Fairgrounds Box Office or on TicketMaster.

Three Stars of the Game

Mike Baker
Joe Cangelosi
Daniel Martin