Thunderbirds Lose a Heart-Breaker Late, 2-1 Against Port Huron.
Winston-Salem, NC – Thunderbirds Lose a Heart-Breaker Late, 2-1 Against Port Huron.
How It Happened
The Thunderbirds would drop the previous night’s contest against the Port Huron Prowlers by a score of 5-3 headed into Saturday night’s game. The win last night for the Prowlers ties the season series at 2 each against Carolina. Entering action Port Huron holds a 10-game winning streak, while the Thunderbirds have lost 4 of their last 5. Getting the start for the Prowlers in net it would be Cory Simons, sporting a 5-1 record, and a league-leading 2.58 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. For Carolina it would be Kelly Curl getting the nod. The Mcleansville, NC native has a 4-1 record, a 2.79 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage, both of which are the best on the team. In last night’s game Curl would come on in relief of Cary Byron and stop 11 of the 12 shots he would face.
The first period would start with a flurry of end-to-end action, seeing both teams trade scoring chances. Both netminders would be tested during the period, and both would make strong saves. Very few stoppages occurred, and it would be until 17:57 of the period that the teams would skate even strength. Matt Graham would take a roughing call, sending the Thunderbirds on the power-play. Early into the man-advantage it would be the Prowlers Mike Baker attacking short-handed. Kelly Curl would make the save, but some pushing and shoving would cause the gloves to drop as Baker go toe-to-toe with Stanislav Vlasov. Vlasov would get an additional instigator penalty, 11 seconds of which would carry over into the 2nd period. The Thunderbirds would out-shoot the Prowlers 15-13 headed into the locker room.
The 2nd period would follow the script of the 1st to near perfection. Early in the frame both teams would battle end-to-end, with both goaltenders playing well and not allowing many rebounds. The Thunderbirds and Prowlers would trade power-play opportunities. First it would be the Prowlers Ross Scherma taking an interference minor at 7:19 of the period. The Prowlers would kill the penalty off, and shortly after would get a chance of their own. At 11:15 of the period Michael Bunn would be assessed for boarding, sending the Prowlers on the man-advantage. Shortly after Matt Robertson would capitalize, wiring the puck over Curl’s shoulder from a sharp angle after some strong puck movement from the Prowlers. Mike Baker would assist on the goal; just the Prowlers’ 6th of the season. The Thunderbirds would then have to kill off another penalty, this time on Seth Gustin at 16:34 of the period, his 1st penalty of the season. The successful kill would be followed up by a Joe Pace Jr penalty for high sticking at 18:50 of the period. The penalty would be partially killed by the Prowlers, with 50 seconds carrying over to the 3rd period. Shots on goal were 21-8 in favor of the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds would increase the pressure during the 3rd period, trying desperately to tie the game up. The trend of the first two periods would continue, with frantic action during the early stage. Both goalies, Curl and Simons, would make spectacular saves. Two penalties by the Thunderbirds back-to-back would put the Prowlers on a 5-on-3 powerplay. With very little time left in the 5-on-3 however the tables would be turned, when Matt Graham and Matt Robertson would both take penalties, sending the Thunderbirds on a 5-on-3 of their own. At 16:16 of the period Jiri Pestuka would tip the puck past Simons on a net-mouth scramble to tie the game at 1. It would be the Prowlers taking the air out of the building when a Mike Baker shot rebounded right to the stick of Austin Daae, who would put it home to secure the win with just 24 seconds left in the game.
In the win Cory Simons would stop 53 of 54 pucks. Kelly Curl would stop 29 in the loss, his 2nd of the season.
Austin Daae’s game-winning goal is his 2nd such of the season.
The Prowlers winning streak increases to 11 after the victory.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will continue their homestand on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, January 18, 19, and 20 against the Danville Dashers. Thursday and Friday’s games will start at 7:35 pm, with the doors opening an hour early. Saturday’s game is Veteran’s Appreciation night, the Thunderbirds will wear specialty jerseys and former or active military members can get 4 tickets for $20 with a valid ID. For tickets and more information please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).