Thunderbirds Sweep New York Road Trip, Defeat Watertown 5-2

Watertown, NY -  The Carolina Thunderbirds took the full six out of six points from their New York road swing after defeating the defending Commissioner's Cup champion Watertown Wolves 5-2 on Saturday night.

Carolina would not be plagued by any sort of slow start as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead through the first period of play. Chase Fallis and Josh Pietrantonio secured the opening goals of the game about 10 minutes apart in the first period.

Watertown would not back down and showed why they are the highest scoring offense in the FHL with a two-goal second period of their own. Tyler Gjurich scored his 19th goal of the season on the power play early in the second period and then George Holt buried one past a screened Christian Pavlas off of a faceoff play and the game was tied at two heading into the final frame.

The Thunderbirds would work themselves up in the locker room and come out flying to start the third period. After a Watertown penalty for interference, Carolina wasted no time taking back the lead when Jiri Pestuka fired a shot from the point that would be deflected by Seth Gustin and just find its way over the line to take a 3-2 lead. Roughly two minutes later off a designed breakout play on a defensive zone draw Jiri Pargac had a breakaway and pulled a forehand-backhand deke to slot it past the pad of Cody Porter.

Carolina would add one more when Jay Croop roofed a backhand home for hist first goal of the 2018-19 season to give the game its final scoreline.

Croop's goal at the midway mark of the third period allowed for a lot of shenanigans to play out on the ice as Watertown became a bit unhinged being down three goals. Chase Tippin was ejected from the game after picking up 17 minutes of penalties late in the game after fighting both Seth Gustin and Everett Thompson in one stoppage. Another big scrum would break out minutes later that saw goal scorer Jiri Pargac drop the gloves with Watertown's Christian Whitcomb. Anton Lennartsson would also pick up a misconduct on that play and his night ended early.

Carolina now heads home for three straight in the Fairgrounds Annex over the next two weekends. The Elmira Enforcers are back in town on December 14th and 15th for a two-set and Danville comes to town for the front half of a home-and-home on December 21. Tickets are available at the Fairgrounds Box Office or online at TicketMaster.

Christian Pavlas stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win for his third straight victory. Cody Porter stopped 24 of 29 shots in the loss for the Wolves.

3 Stars of the game
Jiri Pestuka
Tyler Gjurich (WTR)
George Holt (WTR)


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).