Thunderbirds Win a Nail-Biter 2-1 Against Cornwall

Winston-Salem, NC –Thunderbirds Win a Nail-Biter 2-1 Against Cornwall. 

How It Happened

The Nationals and Thunderbirds would do battle on Sunday night to round out the calendar year for the Federal Hockey League. After 2 straight losses at home, and 3 in a row overall, the Thunderbirds would look for redemption at home once again. For Cornwall they looked to continue to ride the hot hand of Maxime Guyon, now with a league-leading 22 goals and 43 points.

In net for Cornwall they would stay with Sebastian Dube-Rochon, who has a league-leading 9 wins, after notching two on Saturday. He also has a 2nd best 3.57 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. For Carolina it would be Cary Byron in the net for his 3rd straight start, Byron has a 4-6 record with a 4.26 goals-against average and a .870 save percentage.

The two teams display strong offensive prowess, and a combined 24 shots in the first period would only yield one goal. An early Carolina power-play would be killed off by the Nationals, after Martin Trudman would take a boarding minor penalty. The Nationals would get their chance when at 12:59 of the frame Tom Kilgore would be assessed a holding minor. The Thunderbirds would kill off the penalty, and shortly after would break through. Jiri Pestuka would fire a pass from behind the goal line up to the point where Seth Gustin fired the puck that Pestuka would re-direct past Rochon to make it 1-0 Carolina. Late in the period Eric Witzel would take a hooking penalty, and the time would expire on the 1st period with Carolina leading in shots 16-8.

The Nationals would tie the game up early into the 2nd period, when Tom Tsicos would tap the puck past Byron on a net-mouth scramble to make it 1-1. Alex Mitsionas and Jakob Smith would assist on the goal. Penalties would abound in the period, with both teams having 5-on-3 chances for less than a minute, in addition to other standard power-plays. Neither team could convert on the man-advantage, but at 17:01 of the period Jason Berube of the Thunderbirds would fire the puck past Rochon to make it 2-1 Carolina. A scrum would ensue after the goal, assisted by Josh Pietrantonio and CJ Blaszka, with Chase Fallis and Ahmed Mahfouz called for coincidental roughing minors. Carolina would skate into the intermission with a 2-1 lead, and up 33-24 on the shot clock.

The 3rd period would start quickly, the Thunderbirds getting 3 shots and 2 good scoring chances within the first 15 seconds of the final frame. Rochon would stand tall in his net, fighting off the chances. The Thunderbirds would continue their offensive momentum, but Cornwall would kill off a Cam Bakker hooking minor at 1:52 of the period. Afterward the Nationals would take the momentum back, peppering Byron with shots. A scary moment for Carolina would occur when at 10:38 of the 3rd Yuto Osawa would be called for a butt-end double-minor. The Thunderbirds would manage to kill off the penalty, but the Nationals pressure would continue. Late in the period Maxime Guyon would wring a puck off the post, nearly tipping in. After pulling Rochon with less than a minute left, the Nationals were unable to score, and Carolina would snap it’s 3 game losing streak.

In the loss Sebastian Dube-Rochon would make 44 saves, while Byron would stop 33 of 34 shots in the win.

Notable Stats

Jason Berube’s game-winning goal was his 3rd of the season, but his 1st as a Carolina Thunderbird.

The Thunderbirds snap a 3 game losing streak, while also breaking the Nationals 3 game win streak.


Back in Action

The Thunderbirds will have a week off from FHL games, but will play a charity Sled Hockey game on Saturday, January 6th. The game will be free and open to the public, but a donation is suggested to help raise money for sled hockey equipment in the Triad. For tickets and more information please visit or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).