Thunderbirds Sweep Dashers In Another Offensive Onslaught
Danville, IL - After scoring seven goals on Friday night against the Dashers the Thunderbirds kept their sticks even hotter for Saturday's road game in Danville (IL), defeating the Dashers Saturday night 8-3.
Even though both teams endured a long bus ride from playing in Winston-Salem the night before, bus legs were not an issue for the first period as both teams played fast and the Dashers especially were not afraid to play the body to command a physical presence. In fact they were so unafraid to play the body that Taylor Cutting at one point through himself into his own bench trying to lay a big hit on a Thunderbird in the first period.
Nevertheless, it was Carolina getting on the board striking twice in a span of 2:22 in the later stages of the first period. Petr Panacek and Jiri Pargac got the goals to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.
The Thunderbirds kept their hot start rolling into the second period as two minutes in Peter Cicmanec scored on a nifty backhand that couldn't be controlled by Dashers goalie Blake Scott. 1:40 later Chase Fallis added a tally off of a rebound given up by Scott and Carolina looked to be in control for the rest of the night.
Danville would push back with Stephen Gaul scoring a goal on a half breakaway in the middle on the second period to give the game a 4-1 scoreline at the 2nd intermission.
The third period saw a stalemate through the first 10 minutes that eventually erupted into a goal frenzy similar to what we saw on Friday night with the teams combining for four goals in a span of 2:34 midway through the third. The first two were scored by Carolina with Michael Bunn recording his 30th goal as a Thunderbird (most in franchise history) on a fantastic individual effort to deke both a defenseman and the Danville netminder for the goal. 30 seconds later Joe Cangelosi (after playing last night for Danville on an emergency basis) deflected one home on a rush for a 6-1 lead for Carolina.
Danville would get the next two to make the game interesting. Dustin Henning intercepted a Jiri Pargac clearing attempt and put it quickly past the blocker side of Thunderbirds goalie Christian Pavlas for a 6-2 game and then on the power play the Dashers showed some quality passing in the offensive zone to get Gaul open in the slot with a half-open net that he couldn't miss even if he tried. For Gaul that was his 2nd goal of the game and 3rd on the weekend.
Danville elected to pull their goalie despite being down three goals to try and give them themselves a push to salvage a point but it would backfire when Chase Fallis slotted home his second of the night from center ice.
At 7-3 Thunderbirds you would think everyone was content to go home, call it a night and get ready for the holiday season, but you would be wrong. Chase Fallis got another goal with two seconds left (this time with a goalie in net too) for his first career professional hat trick to make it 8-3. After the goal, Stan Vlasov would drop the gloves with Chris Affinati and the referee elected to let the last two seconds tick off during the spirited scrap.
Carolina is now on a six game winning streak. All six of those games were started by Christian Pavlas who has won his last seven starts. Pavlas stopped 22 of 25 shots in the win. Blake Scott takes the loss, he stopped 47 of 54 shots on Saturday night.
Carolina now prepares for a gauntlet of a schedule with 5 games in 6 days after Christmas leading up to New Year's Eve. This streak includes four consecutive games between December 26 and December 29.
3 Stars of the Game
Stephen Gaul (DAN)
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 66,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).