Thunderbirds to Wrap Up Regular Season, Look Ahead to Playoffs
Winston-Salem, NC – Thunderbirds to Wrap Up Regular Season, Look Ahead to Playoffs.
The Carolina Thunderbirds have wrapped up their road games in the regular season after a 2-game set against the Prowlers in Port Huron, Michigan. On Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31, the two teams would square off. Friday’s game would be a 5-3 Prowler victory, their 25th in a row. The Prowlers would score 5 unanswered in the 1st and 2nd periods, getting 2 goals from Matt Robertson and one each from Dalton Jay, Austin Daae, and Stepan Timofeyev. The Thunderbirds would respond with an offensive 3rd period, getting 3 goals from Jason Berube, Jiri Pestuka, and CJ Blaszka. On Saturday the Thunderbirds would take the momentum from the previous night’s 3rd period and start quickly. Just 15 seconds into the contest Kyle Stevens would score, and it wouldn’t be until late in the 2nd period that the teams would score again. At 19:18 of the 2nd Jason Berube would make it 2-0 Carolina, but a goal in the final seconds of the period by Port Huron’s Alex Johnson would make it a 2-1 game headed into the 3rd period. Down by 1 late in the 3rd the Prowlers would pull their goaltender for an extra skater, and Thunderbird Tom Kilgore would get not 1 but 2 empty net goals to seal the 4-1 victory.
The win is significant not just because it breaks up the Prowlers 25-game winning streak (A Streak that started after a 6-5 overtime loss to Carolina on January 26th) but it temporarily denied Port Huron a chance at making league history. The Prowlers, with 40 wins on the season, are tied for the most ever in the history of the Federal Hockey League. One more win in their remaining 2 regular season games will put Port Huron in sole possession of that record, ahead of the 2011-2012 New Jersey Outlaws. In addition, the Prowlers have 128 points, and are just 1 behind the 2016-2017 Danville Dashers, who finished the regular season with 129.
What’s Coming Up
The Thunderbirds will skate at home on Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th against the Port Huron Prowlers. Friday’s game is the final “Frosty Friday” of the regular season, presented by R.H. Berringer Distribution and Pepsi Co. All domestic, non-craft, draft beers and all Pepsi products are just $2 at Thunderbirds Concession Stands. Prior to the game as well at the Plaza at the Fairgrounds Annex it’s the “Labatt Blue Pre-Game Party” featuring the Scooter Brown Band playing from 6:15 to puck drop. A ticket to the game gets you into the concert for free. The puck will drop at 7:35 pm EST with the doors of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex opening one-hour prior. WKTE “The Wave” 1090 am is the presenting partner of Friday night’s contest.
On Saturday the Prowlers and Thunderbirds will skate in the final regular season game of the 2017-2018 season. The puck will drop at 6:05 pm, with the doors of the annex again opening one-hour early. It’s “Fan Appreciation Night” presented by WTOB “The Big 980” and the 1st 1000 fans in attendance will get a special Thunderbirds team poster.
The Thunderbirds Coaches show will continue on Tuesday the 10th on WTOB, the flagship station for Thunderbirds Hockey. Tune in with Scott Brand, Al Kessler, and Andre Niec as they break down the regular season and preview the upcoming playoff series.
The Thunderbirds will finish the regular season in 3rd place in the FHL, locking in a 1st round playoff battle against the Watertown Wolves. The series will begin on Friday, April 13th as the higher-seeded Wolves will visit Winston-Salem to take on the Thunderbirds. Tickets are now on sale on Ticketmaster and at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Box Office. Game 1 of the 3-game series will start at 7:35 pm at the Annex, with the doors opening one-hour prior. Afterwards the Thunderbirds will travel north to Watertown for game 2 of the series. The puck will drop on Saturday the 14th at 7:30 pm from the Watertown Municipal Ice Arena and you can hear the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 7:05 pm est on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. If necessary the deciding game 3 will be played Sunday the 15th in Watertown and will be a 4:00 pm puck drop, with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 3:35 pm.
In addition season tickets for the 2018-2019 regular season will go on sale on Thursday, April 5th. To reserve your seats for Thunderbirds hockey or for more information, please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).
Photo Credit: V. Khouri