Thunderbirds Hang On, Defeat Rockers 2-1
In a true tight-checking affair, Mario Cavaliere stood tall in net and Dawson Baker put home a pair of goals to help the Carolina Thunderbirds outlast the Motor City Rockers 2-1.
In front of a crowd of over 2,800 fans on St. Patrick's Day, the Thunderbirds utilized strong goaltending and solid defense while peppering the Rockers' net with shots. Motor City's Trevor Babin did all he could, stopping 40 Thunderbirds shots. It was the two that got past him from Baker that made the difference.
Both teams felt each other out over the first half of the first period. Just past the halfway point of the opening frame, Joe Kennedy intercepted the puck in the neutral zone, fed ahead to Gus Ford, who dropped it back to a wide open Baker. Baker launched a wrist shot from the high slot past the glove of Babin to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
Both teams battled through the rest of the first and the initial half of the second before the scoring opened up on both sides.
A host of Thunderbirds created traffic in front of Babin's crease, completely blocking his view of the puck. Baker sent a wrist shot through the maze of bodies and it found the back of the net for his second of the night and seventeenth of the season.
Motor City added a power play goal a minute later, but that's all the Rockers would get against a stalwart Cavaliere.
The Thunderbirds played solid defense down the stretch and Cavaliere stood tall to help Carolina hold on for their fourth straight victory.
Baker's pair of goals earned him first star. Ford assisted on both, netting him second star honors, and Cavaliere earned third star for yet another strong performance between the pipes.
The two teams meet for the middle of the three game weekend series tomorrow night at 6:05