Tsicos's hatty leads the way for Thunderbirds win

COLUMBUS, Ga.- The Carolina Thunderbirds, proud members of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, trounced the Columbus River Dragons 7-2 on Friday night at the Columbus Civic Center.

“I’m excited we finally got to our brand of hockey,” said head coach Andre Niec, “I hope this means we’ll be consistent in giving 60 minute efforts and we play our game the rest of the season.”

Carolina opened the scoring just 1:12 into the game when Tommy Tsicos scored his first of three.

“Our D were getting shots through and that made it really easy for me to find the rebounds and put them in,” said Tsicos.

Roshen Jaswal added another for the Thunderbirds late in the period on a seeing-eye wrister from the far point. Jaswal racked up three assists in addition to his goal.

“Last week playing four in five was a little tough,” said Jaswal, “but I really wanted to open up my game and I ended up with four points tonight.”

The Thunderbirds never looked back after gaining the lead. Josh Koepplinger scored 91 seconds in the second period to make it 3-0, and break a three-game goalless streak.

Ivan Bondarenko would drive the net for Columbus in the middle of the second and bury a feed from Jake Schultz, but Carolina would answer one minute later with Tsicos’s second.

“Honestly I was just trying to get the puck and shoot as quick as I could,” said Tsicos, “I saw it coming from the point and just tried to turn and shoot.”

David Brancik scored his first as a Thunderbird in the second period as well.

In the third period Fred Hein drove the net for a rebound and slid the puck by River Dragons starter Jacob Caffrey. Tsicos would complete his hat trick late in the frame on a deflection from a Roshen Jaswal shot.

Columbus was able to scratch one more goal in the frame with Nick Mangone scoring off of an in-zone draw.

Nick Modica made 31 stops for the Thunderbirds in the win and has now won the last three games he’s appeared in.

Carolina improves to 4-4-1-1 on the season while Columbus falls to 6-3-3-1. The Thunderbirds are now on a four-game winning streak.

The two teams will face off again tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. in Columbus.