Pavlas, Sladkovsky hand Thunderbirds first home loss of the season.
Winston-Salem, NC – Pavlas, Sladkovsky hand Thunderbirds first home loss of the season.
How It Happened
The Thunderbirds would play host to the North Shore Knights for the 3rd time this season. It was a happy return to home ice for Carolina, who are coming off their longest road trip of the season. Carolina holds a 2-0 record in the season series so far with the Knights. Christian Pavlas would get the start for the Knights, sporting a 1-6 record, a 5.96 goals against average and a .864 save percentage. In net for Carolina it would be Kelly Curl, with a 3-0 record, and a team-leading 2.77 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
The two teams would battle back and forth in a physical first period, trading chances at each end of the ice. After Jan Porcheska of the Knights took a hooking penalty, the Thunderbirds would strike. Yuto Osawa would score his 4th goal of the season on the power-play, set up in front by Jiri Pestuka, Michael Bunn with the secondary assist. The Knights would strike back late however, with under 3 minutes left in the period Lukas Sladkovsky would score, beating Curl to tie the game at 1. Shots on goal were 10 to 9 in favor of Carolina
The second period would feature offensive brilliance from Carolina, but it would be the play of Pavlas that would shine brighter. Pavlas would stop 3 successive break-away chances by Carolina, and make a further 19 saves in the period, keeping Carolina scoreless in the frame. The Knights however would capitalize after a too-many-men penalty on Carolina. Zach Zulkanycz would fire a shot from the far boards on a sharp angle that would find it’s way in past Curl to give the Knights the lead. Josh Newberg would assist on the goal. The Thunderbirds would outshoot the Knights 19 to 8 in the period, but would skate to the locker room with the score 2-1 in favor of the road team.
Early into the 3rd period Ivan Mikhilov would score to take a 2 goal lead for the Knights, Krister Boramis and Zulkanycz would assist on the goal. The Thunderbirds would score another power-play goal, when Michael Bunn would fire the puck top shelf past Pavlas to make it a 1-goal game. Seth Gustin and Jiri Pestuka would assist. A fight immediately afterwards between Stanislav Vlasov and Yuki Saski would spark the crowd, but it would be quickly quieted when Sladkovsky would score on a break to beat Curl for his 2nd of the game. The game would end in a flurry of fighting majors, with the Knights skating out to their 2nd win of the season and giving the Thunderbirds their first home loss of the season.
In the loss Curl would stop 17 of 21 shots, while Pavlas would make 44 saves in the win.
Sladkovsky would score 2 goals in only his 2nd game this season for North Shore, he now has 3 points
With the 43 saves tonight, Pavlas now has over 300 for the season.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will be back at home on Saturday, December 23rd to take on the North Shore Knights. On Saturday the puck will drop at 6:05 pm. Tickets for both games will be $10 each with reserved seating, visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com for more information.