Thunderbirds Can’t Complete Comeback, Lose 3-2 to Prowlers
Winston-Salem, NC –Thunderbirds Can’t Complete Comeback, Lose 3-2 to Prowlers.
How It Happened
In game 3 of the weekend the Port Huron Prowlers and Carolina Thunderbirds would wrap up their series on Sunday afternoon. After a 4-2 Prowler win on Saturday night, Port Huron now has 41 points out of 45 possible in their recent stretch of success. On the flip side Carolina is 9-16 in their last 25 games. Sitting in first place in the league standings the Prowlers have 17 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime wins, 1 overtime loss, 57 points and a .731 winning percentage. Carolina still sits in 5th place, out of a playoff spot, with 12 wins, 15 losses, 3 overtime wins, 2 overtime losses, 43 points and a .462 winning percentage. 3 fights and a host of other penalties would occur late in the 3rd period on Saturday night, as both teams would continue the battle on Sunday it would remain to be seen if the physicality would carry over.
In net for the Prowlers it would be Michael Santaguida once again, after his loss on Friday night he now sits at 6-0-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average anda .913 save percentage, he also has 3 assists on the season. In net for Carolina it would be Kelly Curl, with his team-leading 2.72 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. Curl is 5-2 on the season.
The Prowlers would show no signs of fatigue in the 1st period, taking it to the Thunderbirds early and often. Kelly Curl would be up to the task, turning aside a high volume of scoring chances. Late in the period Shea Carey, recently returned from injury, would spring Matt Graham and Dalton Jay on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Graham would out-wait the Thunderbirds defender and send the pass across to find Jay for the easy tap-in, and for the 3rd time on the weekend the Prowlers would score first in the game. The goal is Jay’s 21st of the season, putting him in sole possession of 3rd place in the FHL standings. Graham’s assist is his 18th of the season and 35th point, and Carey’s is his 6th of the campaign. The only penalties in the period were taken by Jay Croop of Carolina and Stepan Timofeyev of Port Huron, coincidental slashing minors at 14:25 of the frame. The Prowlers would skate into the locker room 1-0 after 1, leading in shots 19-8.
It would be Port Huron striking first in the period, Matt Graham would pick up a loose puck and fire it past Curl, who was down and out after making 2 saves prior. Jay and Baker would assist on the goal, Graham’s 13th of the season. Jay’s assist is his 2nd point of the game, and 15th helper, Bakers assist is his 10th. Just 1:21 later however Chase Fallis would break into the offensive zone. He would find Jiri Pestuka in the high slot. Pestuka would fake-out the Prowler defense and wire a shot over the shoulder of Santaguida to cut the Port Huron lead in half. CJ Blaszka would get credit for the secondary assist, his 18th of the year, and Fallis’ helper was his 5th of the campaign. Penalties would once again catch up to the Prowlers, when at 12:59 Joe Pace Jr would be called for slashing, followed by an Edgars Ozolins minor and match penalty for cross-checking. The Prowlers would kill of the 57 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey, but on the 5-on-4 it would be Pestuka taking a pass from Blaszka on the near-side, close to the goal line. A pass across would find Ray Boudiette, who would slam the puck home, tying the game at 2 on the power-play. For Pestuka and Blaszka it is their 2nd points of the game, and for Boudiette the goal is his 2nd power-play goal of the season, and his 3rd in just his 7th game in a Carolina uniform. Carolina would kill off a Jason Berube interference minor penalty late in the period, and skate tied into the locker room, having out-shot the Prowlers 16-12 in the period. Port Huron would still hold the shot lead 31-24 through the game, headed into the 3rd.
In the 3rd period the action would continue its fevered pitch, with both teams trading offensive chances up and down the ice. At 13:24 of the period it would be Matt Graham finding the puck again on a net-mouth scramble, firing it home to make it 3-2. Jay and Timofeyev would assist on the goal. Earlier in the period a shot by Tom Kilgore appeared to cross the goal line, but was called back by the officials. The Prowlers would hold on to win the contest 3-4 against Carolina.
In the loss Kelly Curl would stop 43 of 46, while in the win Santaguida would stop 32 or 34.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will travel to Danville, Illinois to play a 2-game set against the Dashers. On Friday and Saturday February 2nd and 3rd the two teams will skate. Both games will start at 8:00 pm EST with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 7:35 pm on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. For more information please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).