Thunderbirds Net Three in Third, Defeat Columbus, 6-3

Winston-Salem, NC – Going to the third period tied at three, the Carolina Thunderbirds exploded across the final 20 minutes, scoring three times, to defeat the Columbus River Dragons, 6-3, Saturday night at the Annex in front of a sold-out crowd.


Columbus (13-2-2) came out firing in the first period outshooting Carolina (16-3-0) 10-0 over the first 10 minutes and breaking through at the 9:01 mark after a Kyle Moore one-timer giving the visitors the 1-0 advantage. Following the goal, the Thunderbirds began to find their footing. Four minutes later, Petr Panacek knotted the game at one with his fifth goal of the season, making it 1-1. The two sides traded goals again across the rest of the first going to the second period tied at two. 


After the intermission at the 3:04 mark, Jacob Schnapp danced his way through the River Dragon’s defense beating Colgan on the back hand giving the Thunderbirds their second lead of the evening. Schnapp’s goal was cancelled out two minutes later with a blast from the point from by Carter Shinkaruk tying the game at three and the two sides went to the final 20 minutes with nothing between them.


Coming out of the locker room, Carolina wasted no time taking the lead back. Jan Salak, who came into the game with six goals over the last four games, snapped one past Colgan giving the Thunderbirds the lead, 4-3. Both sides hit iron across the next 10 minutes, but Gus Ford gave Carolina its biggest lead of the night on a slap shot making it, 5-3. 


Columbus pulled its goalie with over three minutes remaining and Salak finished off the win with an empty netter with 1:54 remaining, closing out the River Dragons, 6-3.


Ford and Salak were named the 1st and 2nd stars of the evenings with a pair of goals while Mario Cavaliere earned 3rd star honors saving 51 out of 54 shots on the night. 


With the win, Carolina moves into first in the Continental division with 44 points while Columbus sits in second with 41. 


Carolina and Columbus continue their four-game set on Friday evening in Columbus. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. from the Columbus Civic Center.