Thunderbirds Blitz Mammoth In Inaugural Meeting
In their first game out of the Christmas break, the Carolina Thunderbirds recovered from a sluggish start and pummeled the Elmira Mammoth 9-2 in front of a sellout crowd of 3,128 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex.
The Thunderbirds started slow, as Elmira was faster and stronger all over the ice in the early going, netting a goal by Nick Gullo not quite four minutes into the game.
Spurred by the energy of the sellout crowd, Carolina found their legs, and found the back of the net. A lot. Jacob Schnapp set up the games second star, Petr Panacek, in the high slot as he ripped home a beautiful wrist shot to tie the game. Lucas Rowe scored in his return to the lineup, stuffing home his own rebound to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead after one.
Carolina didn't stop there. Two more second period goals from Jiri Pestuka and Joe Kennedy, a second period which saw the Thunderbirds outshoot the Mammoth 23-6, set the stage for an even more offensive third.
Gus Ford opened the third period scoring, banking in a goal off an Elmira defender. Jan Salak and Blake Peavey netted tallies just ten seconds apart, and the rout was on.
Former Mammoth player Troy Murray, acquired by Carolina from Elmira weeks earlier, scored in his Thunderbird debut on a wrist shot from the point, to add on. That was followed by captain John Buttitta's breakaway goal to seal the deal.
The Thunderbirds will ride the victory into New Year's Eve when they host the Mammoth again to wrap up the calendar year and the weekend series. Puck drop is set for 8:35pm.