Thunderbirds Take Down Bobcats in Shootout, 5-4
Winston-Salem, NC – After losing a two-goal lead in the 3rd period, the Carolina Thunderbirds took down the Blue Ridge Bobcats, 5-4 (2-1 shootout), Thursday night at the Annex.
Carolina (20-5-0) opened the scoring in the 1st period with Viktor Grebennikov’s first goal of the year at the 11:16 mark, giving the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead heading into the 1st intermission. In the 2nd period, Carolina doubled its lead on Dawson Baker’s 14th goal of the season, making it 2-0. Blue Ridge (5-15-3) found an answer from Hunter Hall at the 6:04 mark, cutting the Thunderbirds advantage in half 2-1.
Both sides traded goals the rest of the second and the Thunderbirds held a 3-2 lead after the first 40 minutes. With nearly five minutes gone in the 3rd, Carolina looked to have the dagger on Gus Ford’s second goal of the night taking a 4-2 lead, but Blue Ridge responded. Daniel Martin cut the lead to one at the 12:38 mark in the period before Adrei Ivanov tied the game at four with 5:44 left in regulation. Neither side found a winner and the two sides went to overtime.
Across the five-minute frame, both sides recorded two shots but both netminders stood tall and the Thunderbirds and Bobcats went to a shootout.
In the shootout, Blue Ridge had the advantage in the 1st round with Ricards Jelenskis scoring. In the 2nd round, Frankie McClendon stopped Savva Smirnov and Gus Ford answered tying the shootout at one. Neither side scored in the 3rd round and the two went to sudden death.
McClendon stopped Josh Newberg on the first attempt of the 4th round setting up Josh Koepplinger to win it. Koepplinger, who scored the overtime winner last Friday against Port Huron, beat Connor Green taking the shootout, 2-1, and victory, 5-4.
Carolina picked up two points on the evening and move into first place in the Continental division. The Thunderbirds have their lone weekend off in the regular season and hit the ice next on Wednesday in Columbus against the Columbus River Dragons. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. from the Columbus Civic Center.