Thunderbirds Make it 13 Straight Behind Wild 3rd Period in Watertown
Watertown, NY - The Carolina Thunderbirds achieved 13 straight victories with a 5-1 win over Watertown on Saturday night. While the scoreline reads like a blowout the game for the most part was anything but.
With new Thunderbirds signing Joe Cannan in the starting lineup as well as Watertown's Chase Tippin, the fans were treated to a long grueling scrap between a couple of heavyweights 31 seconds into the game. After what felt like two full minutes of punching and grappling the two were finally separated. The end result saw Tippin head off to the locker room to get stitches and Cannan got re-dressed in the penalty box after being stripped of everything up top, even his chest protector.
Despite that fight, and another involving Cannan and Christian Whitcomb of Watertown the first period ended somewhat uneventfully with a 0-0 scoreline.
Both teams were held scoreless through another two period with Watertown's Chris Marsillo stopping the first 32 shots he saw through 40 minutes of play. The glove hand was working wonders for Marsillo and Carolina was clearly frustrated heading into the 2nd intermission not able to solve the young Watertown goalie.
Then in the third period the floodgates opened.
Carolina's Jiri Pargac and Jan Salak set up a little one-two passing sequence with Salak ripping a pass out of it to the low slot and found Thunderbirds captain Josh Pietrantonio all alone for the tip-in goal to give Carolina a 1-0 lead 11 seconds in to the third period.
Watertown would quickly respond when Kyle Powell fired a shot from an acute angle that appeared to beat Christian Pavlas but it wasn't until Tyler Gjurich poked it home from the goal line that it counted and Watertown had equalized just over a minute later.
Not to be outdone, Carolina would take back the lead for good when Everett Thompson slotted home a rebound given up by Marsillo for Thompson's second goal in three games. Jiri Pargac banged in an insurance tally and Petr Panacek deflected one past the blocker side of Marsillo to make it a 4-1 Carolina lead before the halfway mark in the third period.
Then for good measure on a delayed penalty call against Watertown, Tommy Mahoney hit Josh Pietrantonio coming off the bench with a crisp pass, and the captain drifted to the right and buried one top right corner past Marsillo to make it 5-1.
Carolina has now won 13 straight and looks ahead to a 6-game homestand starting with the Danville Dashers on Friday night. Tickets are available at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex box office or on TicketMaster.
Christian Pavlas stopped 15 of 16 shots in the win his 13th straight when he starts the game. Chris Marsillo stopped 42 of 47 shots in the loss.
Three Stars of the Game:
Tyler Gjurich (WTR)
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 66,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).