Pestuka Does it Again, Thunderbirds Beat Wolves 4-3 in OT
Winston-Salem, NC –Pestuka Does it Again, Thunderbirds Beat Wolves 4-3 in OT.
How It Happened
After a 4-1 Wolves win on Saturday night the Thunderbirds would skate on Sunday against Watertown. Entering the action the Thunderbirds are situated in 3rd place in the league, just behind the Danville Dashers by virtue of a tie-breaker. The Wolves remain in 5th place in the league standings with a .462 winning percentage.
Coming off the win on Saturday night Matt Kaludis would get the start for the Wolves, entering the game with a 6-4 record, a 3.73 goals against average and a .891 save percentage. Recently off of the injured reserve it would be Chris Paulin earning the start for Carolina, he enters the game with a 1 and 1 record, a 4.00 goals against average, and a .881 save percentage.
The Thunderbirds would start the period off strong, controlling the puck and getting the first 5 shots on goal of the contest. An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty to Brett Angel at 14:05 of the period would put the Thunderbirds onto the power-play. The T-Birds would only get 1 shot on net in the man-advantage, and the penalty-kill by the Wolves would give them life. At 19:11 of the 1st Watertown defenseman Dallas Ingram would fire a shot from the far side of the far face-off circle that would beat Chris Paulin, making it 1-0 Wolves. Jason Berube and Yesmukhan Tolepbergen would get the assists on the goal. Just 29 seconds after Tyler Gjurich would score his 17th goal of the season, picking up the rebound off a Cameron Dimmitt shot to make it 2-0 Wolves with only 20 seconds left in the 1st. The two teams would skate 2-0 into the locker room, tied at 9 apiece in shots.
As with the previous night’s game, penalties would abound in the 2nd period. 3 for the Thunderbirds and 2 for the Wolves, but neither team would be able to score with any man advantage. However, when both Vojtech Zemlicka and Kyle Powell would take coincidental roughing minors, the Thunderbirds would score while 4-on-4. CJ Blaszka would fire a shot from high in the far face-off circle that Kaludis would get a piece of, but not enough. Tom Kilgore would assist on the goal, and would have a chance a few minutes later nearly scoring a short-handed goal. Kilgore’s chance was stymied by Kaludis, who made an excellent post-to-post save. The Thunderbirds would take two late penalties, one to Chris Paulin for delay of game and the other to Giovanni Lamanna for Elbowing, but the Thunderbirds would kill off both penalties. With less than a minute left in the period the T-Birds would tie the game when Michael Bunn would come racing down the far wing, 2-on-1 with Jiri Pestuka and fire the puck top-shelf past Kaludis to tie the game at 2 headed into the 2nd intermission.
It would be the Wolves who took the advantage early in the period when Stephen Gallo would break in all alone. Paulin would make the save, but the loose puck would be tapped home by Anton Lennartsson to give the Wolves a 3-2 lead. The Thunderbirds would turn on the offensive pressure late in the period, culminating in a goal by Rick O’Connor to tie the game with under 5 minutes to play in the period.
The two teams would skate to the overtime period, and 36 seconds into the frame Jiri Pestuka would walk into the slot and fire a shot home past Kaludis to win the game 4-3 for Carolina.
With the win the Thunderbirds are currently the only team in the Federal Hockey League undefeated at home.
The overtime game-winner by Jiri Pestuka is his 2nd in as many weeks, after he got the game-winner in Port Huron in the first OT win in franchise history.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will stay on the road as they will travel to Danville Illinois to take on the Dashers on Saturday and Sunday, December 16th and 17th. Saturday’s game will be an 8 pm EST puck drop with a 7:35 pm pre-game show on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. Sunday’s game starts at 6 pm EST, with a 5:35 pm pre-game show.