Super Mario, Thunderbirds Shut Out Black Bears 5-0
On March 10th, otherwise known as Super Mario Day, Mario Cavaliere was just that: super. The Thunderbirds netminder stopped all 37 shots he faced from the Binghamton Black Bears to earn a spectacular shutout, and first star honors.
In Carolina's first home game in a month, a crowd of 3,053 were treated to a dominant performance from everyone in a Thunderbirds specialty sweater.
The Thunderbirds launched a full frontal 60-minute long assault on the Black Bears, peppering Binghamton goaltender Talor Joseph with a whopping 53 shots.
Over midway through a tight-checking and hotly contested first period, Justin Pringle opened the scoring as he leaked a wrist shot through Joseph that just barely leaked over the goal line to give Carolina a 1-0 advantage.
The Thunderbirds continued their attack in the middle frame. League point leader Gus Ford scored his 35th of the season seven minutes into the second period when he sniped home a wicked wrist shot on an odd man break off a perfect pass from Joe Kennedy.
Seven minutes later, Jacob Schnapp added to the lead with an incredible display of hand-eye coordination. The Floridian tipped a slap pass from the opposite side of the ice from Viktor Grebennikov home into the back of the net.
Ford wasn't done in the third, sniping another wrist shot home for his 36th of the season, and his league-leading 90th point, to extend the Thunderbirds lead to 4-0.
Cavaliere kept stopping shots left and right, and a wildly physical third period came down the stretch with an exclamation point. Jiri Pestuka put home a power-play goal out of a net mouth scramble for one final tally on a dominant Friday night.
The Thunderbirds will wrap up their season series with the Black Bears tomorrow night at the Annex at 6:05 ET.