Thunderbirds Fall in Shootout to Mississippi, 6-5

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds dropped game one of a two-game series to the Mississippi Sea Wolves, 6-5, in a shootout Friday night at the Annex. 


Carolina (20-6-1) started quickly taking a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the 1st period on goals from Josh Koepplinger and Jiri Pestuka, but Mississippi (15-14-1) responded. Jackson Bond and Danny Liscio both scored before the 14:00 minute mark of the first, tying the game at two. The Thunderbirds answered with Koepplinger recording a hat trick before the first period came to an end, but Hugo Koch cut the Carolina lead to one with 55 seconds remaining in the 1st and the Thunderbirds led, 4-3, after 20 minutes. 


In the second, Dalton Anderson beat Frankie McClendon at the 8:52 mark of the 2nd period to tie the game at four before Jon Buttitta snapped one past Anthony D’Aloisio at the 10:19 mark giving Carolina the 5-4 lead going to the 3rd


After the second intermission, both sides had opportunities before Philip Wong on the power play tied the game at five at the 9:39 mark. Carolina had opportunites late, but D’Aloisio made save after save sending the game to overtime. Carolina outshot Mississippi 5-2 in overtime but couldn’t find a winner as the two sides went to a shootout. 


In the shootout, neither side scored in the first round before Yianni Liarakos beat McClendon in the second round and after a save from D’Aloisio, Koch won it in the third round taking down Carolina, 6-5 (2-0). 


The loss marks Carolina’s first loss in overtime or a shootout this season but salvage a point. The Thunderbirds and Sea Wolves meet for game two on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. from the Annex in Winston-Salem.