Thunderbirds Lose Close Game to Danville 5-3

Danville, IL – Thunderbirds lose close game to Danville 5-3.

How It Happened

For the third time this season the Thunderbirds travelled up to Danville to take on the defending champion Dashers. The Thunderbirds enter the game 3-2 in their last 5, 2 of the wins coming in overtime. The Dashers have lost their last 4 and are 1-5 in their last 5. This weekend marks the last in a 7-game road-trip for Carolina. Cary Byron would get the nod for Carolina in net, while Aaron Taylor would start for the Dashers.

In the 1st period the start would be delayed due to ice conditions, but when the puck would drop the Thunderbirds would jump out early. Newcomer Ryan Rotondi, in just his first game with the Thunderbirds, would tap home the puck. Josh Pietrantonio and Michael Bunn would assist on the tally to make it 1-0 Carolina. The Dashers would have two power-plays resulting from penalties by Matt Beer and Tom Kilgore, but the Thunderbirds would kill both off. Byron was strong in net, making 16 saves during the period, including a few sprawling stops while Carolina was a man short. The two teams would skate to a 1-0 score after 1 period with the shots 16 to 9 in favor of Danville.

The Dashers would wake up in the 2nd period, taking the momentum with long stretches of offensive possession and scoring. Just under 4 minutes into the period the Dasher’s Kyle Stevens would break through to tie the game up at 1. Sean Reynolds and Vincent Caligiuri would assist on the goal. Just 5 minutes later Justin Levac would score to give Danville the lead. Sean Reynolds would add another just 35 seconds later, making it 3-1 Danville. The teams would skate to the locker rooms with shots 27 to 18 in favor of Danville.

In the 3rd period the Thunderbirds would show life, but a late empty-net goal would ice the game for Danville. 5 minutes into the Period Justin Brausen would score to make it 4 un-answered goals for the Dashers, making it 4-1 Danville. Carolina’s Pietrantonio would jump on the puck on the power-play and score his league-leading 5th power-play goal, assisted by Jiri Pestuka and Matt Beer. Carolina would make it interesting when Tom Kilgore would pick up a dirty rebound and score to cut the Danville lead to 1, Ryan Rotondi and CJ Blaszka with the assists. It would not be enough however as the Dasher’s Andrew Harrison would score on the empty net to make it a 5-3 final.

Aaron Taylor would make 29 saves in the win, while Cary Byron would stop 34 in the loss.

Notable Stats

Ryan Rotondi playing in his 3rd professional game and 1st for the Thunderbirds would score his 1st ever professional goal in the 1st period. His assist in the 3rd period would also be his 1st ever professional assist.

Sean Reynolds of the Dashers would have 3 points in the win, giving him 20 points on the season.

Back in Action

The Thunderbirds will wrap up the road trip Sunday December 17th. Sunday’s game starts at 6 pm EST, with a 5:35 pm pre-game show on the Carolina Thunderbirds Radio Network. The Thunderbirds will be back at home on Friday and Saturday, December 22nd and 23rd to take on the North Shore Knights. Friday’s game is a 7:35 pm puck drop at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. On Saturday the puck will drop at 6:05 pm. Tickets for both games will be $10 each with reserved seating, visit for more information.