Thunderbirds Sellout Home Opener, Down Knights 3-2
Winston-Salem, NC – The Thunderbirds opened their home season in emphatic fashion, hosting a sold-out crowd at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. They would go on to defeat the North Shore Knights by a score of 3-2.
The first period was a back and forth affair, but it would be the Knights who would strike first. After a steal in the offensive zone, Tyler Becker would wire a shot home, over the shoulder of Thunderbirds Netminder Kelly Curl to make it 1-0 with 4:42 remaining in the 1st period. The Thunderbirds would respond just seconds later at 4:28 of the period when Dalton Jay would fire a sharp angle shot off the pads of Knights goaltender Christian Pavlas to tie the game. The game wouldn’t stay tied for long, when with just 19 seconds left in the 1st, Tom Kilgore would take a drop pass in the slot from Rick O’Connor and fire it home to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 Advantage. CJ Blaszka would also have an assist on the goal.
In the 2nd period the Knights would come out strong, and after a strong check on Justin Blaszak, Patrick Porkka would have to answer the bell against Daniel Chang, with Chang being assessed an added 2 minute instigator penalty. On the ensuing power-play the Knights would score again, as Radoslav Konecny would tally to tie the game at 2. The Thunderbirds would storm back and regain momentum, and with 6:02 remaining, Dalton Jay would earn his 2nd point of the night as he fired a smart shot off the pads of Pavlas that would rebound onto the stick of Jan Salak, who would tap it home for the eventual game winner. The 3rd period was scoreless and punctuated with end to end action, but after Rick O’Conner was given a penalty shot on a trip, he would be denied by a strong poke check from Pavlas.
The Thunderbirds would skate to the win in front of a crowd of 3,050, capacity for the Fairgrounds Annex. Pavlas would make 37 saves in the loss, with Curl stopping 28 out of 30 and earning the win in his home state.
The Thunderbirds next game is Saturday, November 4, as they will take on the Knights once again. Puck drops at 6:05 pm EST, for more information visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com