Mullen earns first league win, shuts out Mentor

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- The Carolina Thunderbirds, proud members of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, defeated the Mentor Ice Breakers 3-0 at the Annex on Saturday night.

“We didn’t play well in the first period and we had a louder conversation in the locker room, but we fixed the problem and won the game,” said head coach Andre Niec.

Jake Mullen earned his first FPHL win and first FPHL shutout in a 26-save effort in his first start as a Thunderbird.

“You prepare the same for every game,” said Mullen, “but the boys did a lot of the work and they made it easy for me tonight.”

After a scoreless first period, Jiri Pargac opened the scoring, buring a feed from Konner Haas. It’s Pargac’s sixth goal of the season and for Haas, his fifth assist is his first since returning to the Thunderbirds.

“I wish everyone could feel that feeling of scoring,” said Pargac, “[Haas] found me and I finished, but it’s the guys. It’s not about me ,it’s about them.”

The Thunderbirds penalty kill was stellar again this evening, killing off seven penalties in the game.

After going 0-for-30 on their last 30 powerplay attempts, Petr Panacek broke his personal scoring drought netting his 15th goal of the season and putting Carolina up two.

The Thunderbirds finished 2-for-7 on the man advantage tonight.

Panacek would add another late in the third, also on the powerplay.

“We needed those goals,” said Niec, “those were big goals for us tonight in a close game.”

The Thunderbirds packed in another 3310 for the sixth sellout of the season in Winston-Salem.

“They’re unreal and it’s crazy that they’re behind me now, cause it’s loud,” said Mullen.

Carolina advances to a league-leading 66 points and a 21-3-1-1 record. Mentor has now lost 14 straight games vs. the Thunderbirds and falls to 13-13-0-2.

Next up, the Thunderbirds will play Delaware in the Thunder’s only trip to Winston-Salem this season.