Thunderbirds Fall in OT in Baton Rogue Exhibition
BATON ROGUE, LA
In front of a crowd of 6,259 at the Raising Cane's River Center Arena in Baton Rogue, LA, the Mississippi Sea Wolves outlasted the Carolina Thunderbirds 6-5 in overtime. The exhibition matchup was the first professional hockey game in the Bayou in nearly two decades, and the passionate hockey fans in Death Valley showed up and showed out, proving hockey can thrive in Southern Louisiana.
Carolina and Mississippi went back and forth on the scoresheet. The Sea Wolves found offense where it's been lacking lately. Unlike the last time these two teams met, the Sea Wolves had an answer for seemingly every punch the Thunderbirds threw at them Strong efforts from Jan Salak, Petr Panacek, Gus Ford, Jacob Schnapp and Joe Kennedy offensively were not enough.
Kennedy's first goal as a Thunderbird tied the game at 5 late in regulation. In overtime, coach Garrett Rutledge took the exhibition overtime as an opportunity to get experimental. He pulled goaltender Boris Babik twice within the first two minutes of overtime, backfiring the second time. Vinni Susi cleared a puck down that appeared headed for a sure icing call with Gus Ford after it. Out of nowhere Dakota Ulmer hit fifth gear, won the race for the loose puck and shot it into the empty net to send the crowd of nearly 7,000 home.
Both teams now head to Biloxi for two more games on the weekend.