Thunderbirds Erase 3-Goal Deficit; Fall In Overtime To Prowlers
Port Huron, MI - The Carolina Thunderbirds fought hard in the third period to erase a huge Port Huron lead but ultimately fell in overtime 5-4 to the Prowlers.
Carolina got on the board first after Taylor Love fired a shot intentionally wide that Jan Salak was able to re-direct in the slot and put through the legs of Cody Karpinski who was late getting into the butterfly. Salak's 24th of the year opened the scoring 10:28 into the contest.
Port Huron would quickly answer back when Marvin Powell came in from the right wing side and fired a shot that appeared to fool Christian Pavlas playing a pass on the rush. Powell's low shot ramped up off the stick of Pavlas and hit the top netting quickly in and out for the tying goal about two and a half minutes later.
The score was tied 1-1 heading into the first period and even though both teams would exchange chances over the next 20+ minutes, it was Port Huron who kept cashing in and put Carolina in a hole.
The only goal in the second period was credited to Tom Kilgore who lasered one into the top left corner when he was left all alone in the slot. Port Huron had another goal taken away in the middle frame when Christian Pavlas was contacted and gave up the puck and then was kicked in by one of the Prowlers.
Not satisfied with being up 2-1 at the second period, Port Huron came on even stronger in the third period with a goal 48 seconds in by Matt Robertson who struck on a great forehand-backhand deke. Then on the power play, the Prowlers took a commanding three goal lead when Zachary Zulkanycz sent in a puck that was fed to him beautifully by Dalton Jay.
Down 4-1 with about seven minutes left the Thunderbirds put their foot through the floor on the accelerator and began to pepper Karpinski with shots. Michael Bunn got his 24th of the year on a quick shot coming out from behind the net that beat Karpinski 5-hole and made the score 4-2.
A late media timeout thanks to goals and icing calls gave head coach Andre Niec and impromptu timeout and with about three minutes to go he drew up a cycle play off the faceoff that sprung Jan Salak from the left circle. His shot was parried by Karpinski but the rebound fell loose in the slot and Ray Boudiette tapped it in to make it a one-goal game with less than three minutes to go.
The Thunderbirds kept pressing but Port Huron's defense remained strong. After a faceoff was called for in the Port Huron end Andre Niec used his timeout to draw up one final play for Carolina with 12.9 seconds left. Carolina lost the draw but were able to hold the zone thanks to Taylor Love, he passed across to Karel Drahorad whose low shot was deflected beautifully by Josh Pietrantonio and hit the back of the net with 5.8 seconds left. The Thunderbirds mobbed their bench ecstatic that they had sent the game to overtime. McMorran Arena roared with the late goal thanks to travelling support from Thunderbirds fans.
The 3-on-3 overtime produced some exciting moments, but it was Port Huron getting the better of them. After Austin Fetterly drew a penalty deking around Chase Fallis, it only took six seconds on the 4-on-3 power play for Port Huron's Dalton Jay to score far post on Pavlas to send the Port Huron crowd home happy. for Jay it was his 42nd of the year and FHL leading 100th point.
Cody Karpinski gets the overtime win with 34 saves on 38 shots. Christian Pavlas takes the OTL, he stopped 27 of 32 shots.
The same two teams go at it one final time in the regular season Saturday night at McMorran, a 6:00 puck drop means a 5:35 pregame show on the Carolina Thunderbirds Radio Network.
Three Stars of the Game
Dalton Jay (PTH)
Matt Robertson (PTH)