Ninth Times the Charm as Elmira Defeats Carolina For First Time This Season
Elmira, NY - The Carolina Thunderbirds suffered defeat for the first time to the Elmira Enforcers this season falling in overtime Sunday afternoon 3-2.
Elmira's victory marks their first time in nine tries defeating Carolina in the Enforcers' inaugural season.
Elmira got on the board quickly in this one with Ahmed Mahfouz sending one over a downed Christian Pavlas who had sprawled out to make a previous save. Mahfouz's goal 1:17 into the game gave him the standalone lead at the time atop the FHL points standings for players.
Even though Carolina wold wake up after that early goal and pepper surprise starter Cody Porter (Troy Passingham was the listed starter on official card up until game time but taken out due to undisclosed injury) with 13 shots, they were unable to break through heading into the locker room.
In the second period Carolina was given a slew of power play chances but still could not solve Porter and then about halfway through the hockey game on a power play for Elmira, the Enforcers doubled their lead as Glen Patteron poked home a puck that was loose behind Pavlas after he made a post to post save but couldn't squeeze the pads shut to hold the puck.
Before the period was up though, Carolina finally broke through on a faceoff play that saw Petr Panacek rifle one quickly past Porter who couldn't react in time. 2-1 was the score in favor of Elmira heading to the third.
The third period started very conservatively with both teams seeming to not want to make the first mistake, eventually Carolina began to push the envelope and Michael Bunn would draw a penalty on a trip driving into the zone, before Elmira could touch the puck though he slid it from the ice over to Jiri Pestuka who one times it home and tied the game at 2.
The teams would trade chances the rest of regulation with Elmira dominating shots and possession time in the final three minutes of the game. It took a play from one of the newest Thunderbirds Brad Nolan sweeping a puck out of the crease with about five seconds left in the game to ensure we headed to the extra frame.
With overtime looming both captains were sent out by their respective coaches to try and win the opening faceoff and secure possession to begin a highly tactical 3-on-3 period. Ahmed Mahfouz won the draw and after the Enforcers played a little catch in their own zone it was Stepan Timofeyev who wristed one past Pavlas' glove 18 seconds into OT to give the Enforcers the extra point.
Cody Porter stopped 37 of 39 shots he faced for the win, Christian Pavlas takes the loss stopping 16 of 19 shots in the process.
Carolina now looks to go home after a 6-game road swing and take on the Port Huron Prowlers at the Fairgrounds Annex this Friday and Saturday. Tickets available at the Fairgrounds Box Office or online at TicketMaster.
Three Stars of the Game
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds have set an FHL record again, breaking their own record with over 66,000 fans through the doors this season.