Thunderbirds Drop Game Two to Binghamton, 4-3

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds fell in Game Two of the Commissioners Cup Finals to the Binghamton Black Bears, 4-3, on Saturday night at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Arena.

Binghamton jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 85 seconds into on a goal from Gavin Yates on the first shot from the Black Bears, but Carolina responded just over two minutes later. Petr Panacek found Jiri Pestuka in the slot and snapped home his second goal of the playoffs to tie the game at one. The Black Bears regained the lead on a Tyson Kirkby goal at the 8:50 mark and doubled their advantage on the power play nearly three minutes later with Yates’ second of the night as the visitors took a 3-1 lead into the 1st intermission.

In the 2nd, Carolina settled in, finding opportunities and with just under nine minutes remaining in the period, Jan Salak netted his second goal cutting the deficit to one, 3-2. The two sides went to the 3rd in a one-goal game, and just two seconds into a power play, Kirkby was left alone in the slot beating Cody Karpinski, making it 4-2 Black Bears.

Thunderbirds Head Coach Steve Harrison took a gamble with five minutes remaining in a two-goal game pulling Karpinski for an extra attacker and the gamble paid off with Josh Koepplinger cutting the deficit to one with 4:32 left in regulation. Now with a one-goal game, Harrison brought on the extra attacker with 2:30 remaining but the Thunderbirds could not find a tying goal and dropped Game Two, 4-3.

Binghamton takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series as the series shifts to Binghamton next Friday for Game Three. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. from the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena.