Thunderbirds make magic in Michigan, win 5-4 in OT
Port Huron, MI – Led by highlight-reel performances from Mario Cavaliere and Lucas Rowe, the Carolina Thunderbirds grabbed an electric 5-4 overtime win against the Port Huron Prowlers. The victory was Carolina’s first of the season and their first regular season win in McMorran Place since February 19th.
Mario Cavaliere got his second consecutive start for the Thunderbirds, following a 35-save performance on Friday night. He was tested 12 times in the first period and kept the game scoreless through 20 minutes.
The scoring began in the second period, when Jiri Pestuka fired a shot past the blocker of Danick Rodrigue for the 1-0 Carolina lead at 5:53. Lucas Rowe delivered a pass right on Pestuka’s tape, allowing him to shoot in stride and beat Rodrigue cleanly.
Three minutes later, Dustin Henning tied the game off of a broken play. Skating across the offensive zone, he lost the puck for a moment before recovering it and snapping a shot off the crossbar behind Cavaliere.
Dawson Baker made his way onto the scoresheet just 30 seconds later, collecting a pass from Josh Koepplinger and scoring a near-perfect replica of the goal Pestuka scored at the beginning of the period. Viktor Grebennikov kept the puck in at the blue line, allowing offensive attack which led to the goal to continue.
Port Huron’s Evan Foley and Tyler Scantlebury would add a pair of goals later in the second period, putting the Prowlers out in front. Minutes later, Gus Ford scored his first goal of the season from between the hash marks, tying the game at 3-3.
At the end of the second period, the puck would make its way to Lucas Rowe behind the Port Huron goal. He got low, picked the puck off the ice with his blade, and flipped it around to the other side of the net for the Michigan “Lacrosse Style” goal. His first professional goal gave the Thunderbirds a 4-3 lead with just 3.7 seconds left in the second period.
In the third period, the Prowlers would even the game after a defensive zone turnover by the Thunderbirds. Evan Foley found himself all alone to the left of Cavaliere’s goal and fired the tying goal home.
In the dying seconds of regulation, Port Huron would manufacture an odd-man rush. Evan Foley sent a pass across to Tucker Scantlebury as he skated down the right wing. Sliding from right to left, Cavaliere made a dazzling glove save to keep the game at 4-4.
It took just 36 seconds of overtime for the Thunderbirds to claim victory. Josh Koepplinger skated the puck out of the Thunderbirds zone, quickly creating a 2-on-1 with Lucas Rowe. He slid a pass over to Rowe, who fired a shot from the right-wing circle between the legs of goaltender Danick Rodrigue. Rowe’s second goal of the night brought Carolina the extra point and their first victory of the season.
The Thunderbirds now venture up to Harrington, Delaware for a meeting with the Thunder on October 28th. They then open their home schedule the following night at 6:05pm against that same Delaware squad. For tickets, visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com.