Stone's first as a Thunderbird sends Carolina past Port Huron

Winston-Salem, NC -- In the first of a five-game set against Port Huron, the Carolina Thunderbirds picked up three points with a 3rd period comeback victory. Jason Stone scored his first goal as a Thunderbird inside two minutes left in the 3rd period, and Brandon Rozzi made 29 saves in the victory.

Carolina had struggled in Port Huron to this point in the season, losing two of three games at McMorran Arena. The Prowlers used home ice to their advantage early in the first period, scoring 49 seconds into the game with a Mike Moroso shot from close range. With George Holt in the box for tripping, the Thunderbirds would find their first goal of the game shorthanded. After intercepting a pass, Dawson Baker and Jacob Schnapp found themselves on a 2-on-1. Schnapp made no mistake burying the backdoor feed for his first goal since January 8th. The Prowlers continued to take advantage of a sluggish Carolina squad, scoring two more goals in the period, and dominating puck possession. After 20 minutes, the Thunderbirds found themselves down 3-1.

The Thunderbirds began to find their stride in the second period. The shots were even at 10-10 in the period, but Cameron Dimmitt would score the lone goal. Off a faceoff, Dimmitt let the puck go from the left point, sailing past four players and goaltender Richard Shipman to bring the Thunderbirds within a goal. Slow improvements were beind made, and the Thunderbirds improved with every shift. They still trailed after 40 minutes, but the deficit was now 3-2.

Entering the game Friday night, David Nicoletti had gone eight games without a goal. After a zone exit was blocked down by Ross Bartlett, Nicoletti would end the drought, tie the game, and bring the Thunderbirds’ hard work to fruition. The deadlock wouldn’t last long thanks to Stavros Soilis. His tap-in goal out of a corner battle gave Port Huron a 4-3 lead with less than seven minutes left in regulation. After calling a timeout, the Thunderbirds found more luck in front of the net. Shipman knocked down a fluttering shot from the far boards. Tim Perks broke towards the net and buried the rebound, tying the game with just over two minutes remaining. With time winding down, the Thunderbirds found themselves with an offensive zone faceoff. Blake Peavey won the draw cleanly back to Jason Stone. A strong slapshot from the left point beat Shipman low to the glove side, and Stone’s first as a Thunderbird proved to be the winner of a 5-4 game.

With the win, Carolina takes a 3-2 lead in the season series against Port Huron. The second leg of this home-and-home is set for 6:05pm Saturday night at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex.