Thunderbirds Score First, Can’t Keep Momentum, Lose 5-2
Winston-Salem, NC –Thunderbirds Score First, Can’t Keep Momentum, Lose 5-2 .
How It Happened
After a disappointing loss on Friday night, 3-1, the Thunderbirds would skate once again against the red-hot Port Huron Prowlers. The Prowlers enter action on a 14-game winning streak, and are undefeated in the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds annex. It is game number 10 between the two teams in the season series, with Port Huron holding a 6-3 advantage. In 1st place the Prowlers enter action with 30 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime wins, and 2 overtime losses, 96 points and a .821 winning percentage. Carolina now sits at an even 500 in the standings after last night and are in 3rd place still. With 19 wins, 20 losses, 5 overtime wins, and 2 overtime losses, the Thunderbirds have 69 points and a .500 winning percentage.
In net for the Prowlers it would once again be Michael Santaguida, who’s’ only loss came in overtime against the Thunderbirds back in January. Santaguida, who has yet to lose in regulation in 17 games, sports a league-leading 2.29 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, along with his 16 wins. In net for Carolina it would be Chris Paulin, the Lockport, New York native who in 7 games for Carolina this season has a 4-3 record with a 3.44 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage and is the only Thunderbird goaltender with a shutout this season.
Just like Friday night the special teams would play a factor in the 1st period on Saturday. Early in the 1st period Port Huron’s Matyas Kasek would be called for tripping at 2:19 of the period. The Prowlers would kill the penalty then get their own chance shortly after when Justin Blaszak would take a minor for interference, but this time it would be Carolina’s penalty-kill up to the task. The teams would continue to battle up and down the ice, but a bad pass by Port Huron would spring the Thunderbirds. Rick O’Connor would race into the zone and drop a pass for Booudiette on the 3-on-2 chance. Boudiette would out-wait Santaguida and the prowler defense to roof the puck to make it 1-0. Boudiette’s goal is his 10th of the season and 22nd point, the assist is O’Connor’s 8th. Shortly after the Prowlers would have a chance of their own, when at 14:40 Seth Gustin would take a hooking minor, followed by a Steve MacIntyre high-sticking minor at 15:05 of the period. Carolina would kill off both penalties and turn around with a chance of their own. At 17:56 Nathan Robson would take a holding the stick minor penalty, and the 1st period clock would expire before the penalty, giving Carolina just 4 seconds of power-play time to start the 2nd period. Despite trailing 1-0 the Prowlers would lead in the shots 12-11.
Port Huron would come to life in the 2nd period, and it would be a one-man show as Stepan Timofeyev would open things up with a goal just 2:41 into the period to tie the game at 1. Matyas Kasek and Nathan Robson would assist on the goal. Just 4 minutes after Timofeyev would steal the puck and bury it past Paulin to make it 2-1 Prowlers. The goal would be unassisted. Carolina would respond just 13 seconds afterwards when Josh Pietrantonio would deflect the puck past Santaguida after a sharp-angle shot taken by Ray Boudiette. O’Connor would get the secondary assist on the goal, tying the game at 2. Timofeyev would not be done however and at 17:27 of the period he would get his 3rd to make it a 3-2 lead headed into the 3rd period. Carolina would now lead in shots however, 34-20, with a 23-8 margin in the period.
The Prowlers would put their foot on the gas and run away with the game in the 3rd period. Just 4:47 in the captain Joe Pace Jr would slam the puck home from the point. Yianni Liarakos and Dalton Jay would be credited with the assists on the goal which doubled up Carolina, 4-2. Just minutes after it would be Nathan Robson tapping the puck home past Paulin on the net-mouth scramble to make it a 5-2 game. Two late penalties on the Thunderbirds would effectively neutralize and Thunderbird momentum, and the Prowlers would skate to the victory 5-2.
In the loss Chris Paulin would stop 30 of 35, while in his record 17th win of the season Santaguida would stop 38 of 40.
Ray Boudiette’s goal and assist increase his point streak to 7 games. He now has 23 points in 21 games.
The win is the 15th in a row for the Prowlers, who remain undefeated in Winston-Salem.
The Thunderbirds Coaches Show will be on Tuesday, March 7th from 6-7 pm on the flagship station for Carolina Thunderbirds Hockey, WTOB, “The Big 980”. Tuesday’s show will feature Head Coach Andre Niec, President and General Manager Scott Brand, Voice of the Thunderbirds Al Kessler, with special guest, Thunderbird defenseman Jay Kenny. For more information about the Thunderbirds please call 336-774-GOAL(4625) or log on to www.carolinathunderbirds.com