Pestuka Spurs Birds to Comeback Win Over Sea Wolves


A slow, inauspicious and sluggish start gave way to a comeback of epic proportions for the Carolina Thunderbirds. Carried by a hat trick from the red-hot Jiri Pestuka, the Thunderbirds rallied from a 4-1 deficit with five unanswered goals en route to a 6-4 triumph over the Mississippi Sea Wolves.

Yaroslav Yevdokimov carved up Carolina in the first period, scoring a natural hat trick and forcing Boris Babik to be pulled from the Thunderbirds net for Mario Cavaliere. Pestuka's first of the night, and 99th career professional goal, sliced into the lead heading into intermission.

Yevdokimov put home his fourth of the night early in the second. That's where the Sea Wolves scoring would end. Tucker Firth banked a goal off of traffic in front of the net early in the second to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Then, Brice French sent a 150+ foot stretch pass right onto the tape of captain John Buttitta, who sniped home a wrist shot past Joe Sheppard. Pestuka followed five minutes later, rifling home his second of the night and 100th career professional goal to tie the game at 4 heading into the third.

After a stalemate first half of the final frame, Firth found the back of the net through traffic on another wrist shot from the point to give the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, one they would keep for good. 

Number 24 wasn't done at career goal 100. Pestuka rocketed home his third of the night to net a hat trick and seal a 6-4 Thunderbirds victory.

Carolina will look for the 3 game weekend sweep tomorrow night.