Third Period Blitz Lifts Birds to 6-3 Win Over Sea Wolves
A third period barrage of goals from the Carolina Thunderbirds broke them loose from a deadlock with the Mississippi Sea Wolves and pole vaulted them to a 6-3 victory in front of a crowd of 2,983 fans inside the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex.
Carolina started the game strong, getting on the gas pedal and attacking early and often. Gus Ford potted home his 44th goal of the season just 1 minute and 46 seconds into the contest after a centering pass from Dawson Baker.
Petr Panacek, back from suspension and back centering the "Czech Line", sniped a wrist shot home far side in the high slot just 4 minutes after Ford's goal to double the Thunderbirds lead, which stood through the rest of the first and the initial half of the middle frame.
The second half of the second period was a full frontal oppositional assault from Mississippi. Philip Wong blasted home a one-timer on the power play 8 minutes into the second. Jan Salak provided a counterpunch with a power play goal of his own for Carolina 4 minutes later when he deflected a wrist shot from Panacek in front of the net.
Not to be outdone, Kyle Russel and Jackson Bond both beat Boris Babik with a pair of goals just two minutes apart to stun the Annex crowd and see the game tied at 3 heading to the third.
The Thunderbirds response was swift, with force and finality.
Salak and Panacek teamed up to perfectly execute a 2-on-1 rush, with Panacek feeding Salak to wire home a one timer into a yawning cage to give Carolina a 4-3 lead. The Thunderbirds didn't look back from that point on.
Panacek blasted home a slap shot from distance to double the lead for his second of the night and 18th of the season. Danny Martin finished things off, banking home a shot off a Sea Wolf for the dagger.
The Czech line took home all three stars on the night, with Pestuka 3rd, Salak 2nd and Panacek first. Honorable mention to Babik in net, who stopped 42 of 45 Mississippi shots on the night.
The two teams meet for the 14th and final time tomorrow afternoon, with puck drop set for 4:05 ET.