Thunderbirds Set Sights on Bobcats for Another Series

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds return home to the Annex on Friday evening for another home-and-home set with the Blue Ridge Bobcats. Carolina swept the first series against Blue Ridge two weeks ago, winning both matchups, 4-1. 

Carolina is coming home after a road trip in Binghamton, New York against the Binghamton Black Bears where the Thunderbirds took two points. Carolina took game one last Friday, 5-4, in a shootout, but dropped game two, 4-2, after three 3rd period goals from Binghamton. 

Blue Ridge comes into the weekend following a split against the Mississippi Sea Wolves at home, taking game two of the set, 12-5. Blue Ridge found the back of the net 12 times on 61 shots, with Kyle Stevens scoring four goals and Josh Newberg recording a hat trick. 

The Thunderbirds are led by reigning FPHL MVP, Gus Ford, who has eight points (five goals, three assists) across his first six games, including a pair of power play goals. Ford in the first two meetings with Blue Ridge notched three points. Petr Panacek sits second on the team with six points this season, all assists, while Dawson Baker and Tucker Firth sit in a tie for third with five points each. 

Netminder Mario Cavaliere returns to the Thunderbirds roster after serving as an emergency backup goalie for the Knoxville Ice Bears on Wednesday. Cavaliere so far this year holds a 4-2 record, saving 176 shots on 189 attempts, good for a 2.14 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Last weekend in Binghamton, Cavaliere faced 89 shots across 125 minutes, saving 81. In the first two meetings against Blue Ridge, he saved 57 shots. Carolina on the power play this season is 5-for-22, good for 23 percent, while the penalty kill is working at a 82 percent clip. 

Blue Ridge is led by forwards Hunter Hall and Vlasov Vladislov who both have 10 points on the year. Hall was responsible for both goals against the Thunderbirds in the first two meetings. Kyle Stevens and Jakub Volf sit in a tie for second on the team with nine points each. Blue Ridge’s power play is working at 16 percent heading into this weekend, while the penalty kill sits at 77 percent this season. Both goalies, Connor Green and Christian Pavlas, have a win, with Green holding a 1-3-0 record while Pavlas is 1-2-1. 

The Bobcats recently joined the Continental division of the FPHL and have six points, tied for fourth, while the Thunderbirds sit at 11 points, in third in the division. 

Game one of the home-and-home series is Veterans Night sponsored CommTech LLC and is set for 7:35 p.m. from the Annex in Winston-Salem on Friday, November 17th. Game two will be in Wytheville at the Apex Center on Saturday, November 18th, at 7 p.m. If fans cannot make it to the Annex or the Apex Center, both games will be broadcasted on ThunderbirdsTV.