Thunderbirds Stave Off Elimination against Port Huron, 4-2

Winston-Salem, NC – After trailing twice in Game Two of the Commissioners Cup Quarterfinals, the Carolina Thunderbirds scored three unanswered goals to force a Game Three against the Port Huron Prowlers, taking down Port Huron, 4-2, Saturday evening at the Fairgrounds Arena.

Port Huron struck early in the 1st period keeping the momentum rolling from its Game One victory. Conor Foley netted his second goal of the series at the 7:40 mark of the 1st period and the Prowlers held the advantage after 20 minutes.

In the 2nd period, Carolina needed to go to the dirty areas to breakthrough. Jan Salak forced himself to the top of the crease and got a pass from Gus Ford wrapping home his first goal of the postseason tying the game at one. The tie was short-lived as Chace McCardle tapped home a rebound 18 seconds later giving the visitors the advantage again, 2-1.

Trailing and on the brink of elimination, the Thunderbirds responded. At the 14:28 mark of the 2nd, Josh Koepplinger jammed home his first goal of the postseason tying the game at two. Three minutes later, on a rebound from a shot from the point, Jacob Schnapp scored his second postseason goal at the 17:40 mark pushing the Thunderbirds ahead, 3-2, going to the 3rd.

Starting the final frame 4-on-4, Koepplinger got his second of the night just 89 seconds in. Koepplinger snapped a shot off the crossbar and in doubling the Carolina advantage, 4-2. The Thunderbirds then coasted to a 4-2 victory forcing Game Three against Port Huron.

With two goals on the night, Koepplinger was named 1st star with Schnapp earning the 2nd star. Cody Karpinski was the 3rd star saving 20 out of 22 shots on the night.

The Thunderbirds and Prowlers meet for the deciding Game Three on Sunday evening in Winston-Salem. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. from the Fairgrounds Arena.