Michael Bunn’s Hat-Trick Ends The Prowlers Streak In Overtime

Winston-Salem, NC –Michael Bunn’s Hat-Trick Ends The Prowlers Streak In Overtime. 

How It Happened

The Thunderbirds would head back on the road for a 5-game, 2-week stretch. It would begin in Port Huron, Michigan against the red-hot Port Huron Prowlers, on a 13-game winning streak. The last time the Prowlers were dealt a loss it was on Sunday, December 3rd, falling to the Thunderbirds 5-1. Friday’s game would be a tale of two teams, the Prowlers sitting in 1st place in the league standings and looking to continue their dominating performances. For Carolina, who are 3-7 in their last 10 games and sit in 5th in the league standings, the weekend would be an important test for a team with plenty of new faces.

Starting in net for Port Huron it would be Michael Santaguida, sporting a 6-0 record, and a 2.83 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Starting for Carolina it would be Christian Pavlas, who suffered a 3-0 loss last Sunday at the hands of the Danville Dashers.

The Prowlers would show off their offensive prowess early in the frame, a shot taken by Branden Parkhouse would be deflected by Pavlas right onto the stick of Matt Robertson, who would fire it home to make it 1-0 Prowlers at 3:56 of the period. Robertson’s goal is his 19th of the season and his 42 point, while Parkhouse’s assist is his 31st and his 46th point.  The Prowlers would strike again at 14:05 of the period, a battle in front of the Carolina net would see the puck bounce around, finally settling on the stick of Stepan Timofeyev. His shot would be saved by Pavlas, but a clearing attempt by the Thunderbirds would be intercepted by Robert Vanwynsberghe who would wire the puck home, making it 2-0 Port Huron. Vanwynsberghe’s goal is his 2nd of the season in his 4th game for the Prowlers, it’s his 5th point. For Timofeyev the helper is his 1st assist of the season and 2nd point in just his 5th game for Port Huron. Exactly 59 seconds later however the Thunderbird’s Jason Berube would steal the puck in the offensive zone and move it into the slot. Michael Bunn would pick it up there and fire a shot on net. Santaguida would make the save but Tom Kilgore would jump on the rebound and put the puck home to make it 2-1. The goal is Kilgore’s 12th of the season and 26th point. For Berube it is his 13th assist of the season, and his 17th point. For Bunn the assist is his 14th of the campaign, and his 28th point of the season. Port Huron would head into the intermission leading 2-1, and ahead in the shot category 11 to 10.

The script of the 1st period would be followed almost exactly during the 2nd period, albeit with more special teams action. An Alex Vazquez elbowing minor-penalty at 2:44 of the period would put the league’s worst power-play on the ice, but the Prowlers would strike. Coming from below the goal line, Matt Graham would wrap the puck in off of the pads of Pavlas, making it 3-1 on the power-play. It is Graham’s 1st power-play goal of the season, and his 12th overall. Parkhouse’s assist is his 2nd of the game and his 32nd of the season. Parkhouse would add a goal to his stats for the evening at 11:58 of the period. Great passing from his unit would find him all alone in the slot, where he would fire the puck up over Pavlas’ shoulder to make it 4-1 in favor of the Prowlers. The goal is Parkhouse’s 16th of the season, and his 48th point. The Thunderbirds would respond 1:02 late, when Jiri Kalis would keep the puck in at the near side blue-line. He would race in and drop the puck for Michael Bunn, who would cut in on net and whistle a shot past the ear of Santaguida to make it 4-2. Kalis would get his 1st point as a Thunderbird with the assist, and CJ Blaszka would get credit for the secondary assist, his 15th of the season. The Thunderbirds would have 2 power-play chances, but on the first it would be the Prowlers with the better chance. When Vanwynsberghe would take a minor for cross-checking, during the Thunderbird power-play, Prowler defenseman Mike Baker would race in on a break-away, beating Pavlas, but not the post. The League best penalty-kill would negate another Thunderbirds man-advantage after a Paul Arnott penalty for high-sticking at 16:22 of the period. Another Arnott penalty with 1 second remaining however would mean the Thunderbirds would start the 3rd period with 1:58 of power-play time. Carolina would out-shoot the Prowlers 14-11 in the period for a 24-21 total.

The early power-play would click for Carolina, at 1:04 of the frame Jason Berube would fire the puck from the far side wall, Josh Pietrantonio would tip it right onto the stick of Ray Boudiette, who would deflect the rubber into the back of the net. The goal is Boudiette’s 2nd of the season, and his 4th point. Pietrantonio’s assist is his 26th of the season, and team-leading 37th point. The Berube assist is his 2nd of the night, and 14th of the season. The Prowlers would strike back, when just over 2 minutes later Vanwynsberghe would find the back of the net on the goal-mouth scramble for his 2nd of the game. Baker and Timofeyev would assist on the goal. The Thunderbirds would strike back, Michael Bunn would score at 10:24 of the period, Alex Vazquez and Tom Kilgore with the assists. Just over 2 minutes later it would be Jay Croop, crashing through the Port Huron defense and knocking the puck down to his own stick. He would find the back of the net to tie the game at 5. Shortly after Ray Boudiette of Carolina would deflect a puck out of mid-air into the back of the net, but it was waved off, ruled to be played with a high stick. The period would end with the game still deadlocked. During the 3rd Carolina would out-shoot Port Huron 13-11.

In the overtime frame the Prowlers would fire off two quick shots on net, both of which Pavlas could handle. After Arnott lost an edge deep in the Carolina zone Bunn and Blaszka came down the ice on a 2-on-1 chance. Bunn would walk slowly in, stick-handling, and fire the puck that would go through Santaguida, ending the game in OT. Pestuka and Blaszka assisting on the goal.

In the win Pavlas would stop 30 of 35, while Santaguida would block 32 of 38 in the loss.

Notable Stats

The win by Carolina ends the Prowlers 13-game winning streak.

Michael Bunn’s 3rd goal of the game in overtime is his 3rd game-winning goal of the season, and his 1st in overtime.


Back in Action

The Thunderbirds will head back on the road as next weekend they will travel to Port Huron, Michigan to play 3 against the Prowlers. The games will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 27th and 28th. Saturday’s game will be at 7:30 pm EST, with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show at 7:05 pm on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. Sunday’s game is a 1:00 pm puck drop, with a 12:35 pre-game show. For more information please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).