Thunderbirds Still Unable to Solve Road Openers, Lose to Wolves 4-1.
Winston-Salem, NC – Thunderbirds Still Unable to Solve Road Openers, Lose to Wolves 4-1.
How It Happened
Both the Thunderbirds and the Watertown would enter Saturday night’s action with a 2-game winning streak. Carolina holds a 3-2 series advantage, after dropping the first two games between the two up in Watertown. The most recent meeting between the two over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend would see a Thunderbirds’ home sweep, outscoring the Wolves 19-7 over the course of 3 games. Matt Kaludis would get the nod in net for the Wolves while Cary Byron would start for Carolina.
The two teams would skate end-to-end during the 1st period, both having a few good early chances. The Thunderbirds would begin to turn on the pressure near the half-way point of the 1st, and the pressure would culminate in a Dallas Ingram cross-checking penalty at 15:20 of the period. The Thunderbirds would be unable to convert on the man-advantage, and both teams would skate to the intermission without a goal, and the Thunderbirds leading in the shot totals 13-5.
It would be the Wolves who would own the time of possession and offensive chances early on in the 2nd period. Both teams would combine for 6 penalties in the period, 3 for each team. Both teams would each score a power-play goal, but it would be the Wolves who would control the offense through most of the period. Nate O’Brien would score first, taking a cross-ice pass from Tyler Gjurich on the power-play, O’Brien would fire the sharp-angle shot past Byron to make it 1-0 at 9:11 of the 2nd period. Stephen Gallo would score at 14:31 of the period after a defensive turnover by Carolina would leave the puck on his stick. Gallo would wire a shot top shelf past Byron to make it 2-0. The Thunderbirds would capitalize on a Kyle Powell minor penalty for delay of game, Justin Blaszak would fire a shot from the point, and Josh Pietrantonio would fire the rebound past Kaludis to cut the Wolves lead in half. Watertown would have the last laugh in the period however, due to another defensive zone turnover by the Thunderbirds. Gjurich would capitalize back-handing the puck past Byron to make it 3-1 Watertown headed into the intermission. At the break the shots would be 21-20 in favor of Carolina, but it was the Wolves outshooting the Thunderbirds in the period, 15-8.
The 3rd period would see the Wolves out-skate the Thunderbirds, despite an early, but truncated, Carolina power-play. Anton Lennartsson would score late in the period to ice the game 4-1 for the Wolves.
Matt Kaludis would make 26 saves in the winning effort, including some dazzling stops on a pair of Thunderbird partial-breakaways. Cary Byron would also make 26 saves in the losing effort.
Tyler Gjurich continues his hot streak with a goal and an assist would add to his team lead, giving him 16 goals and 9 assist.
With the win at home, both the Thunderbirds and the Wolves remain the only teams in the league still undefeated at home.
Back in Action
The Thunderbirds will stay on the road as they will continue the road series on Sunday the 10th against the Wolves. Sunday’s game will start at 4:35 pm EST on the Radio Network, with a 5 pm EST puck drop.