Vlasov's Last Minute Heroics Give Thunderbirds An 8-Game Winning Streak
Port Huron, MI - What started out looking like a routine win for Carolina needed Stan Vlasov's fifth goal of the season slapped in with 22.8 seconds left in the game to give Carolina a 5-4 victory over the Port Huron Prowlers on Thursday night.
Carolina led 3-0 after 20 minutes of play and more impressively led in the shot count 17-3. Midway through the first, Jiri Pargac scored first on the power play and 58 seconds later Jiri Pestuka would get his first of the season to make it 2-0. Joe Cangelosi would then get himself on the board with a shorthanded goal, the first for Carolina this season, to cap off a scoring run of three goals in 3:22.
Port Huron came out determined in the second period and they thought they had found their first goal after about 32 minutes of action. Matyas Kasek and Matt Robertson bore down on a 2-on-1 and Robertson was left with a wide open net to shoot at after a slick pass. Robertson rang it off the post and then after a couple of bounces Robertson found himself back with the puck in front of the net. He attempted to slide it over the line but Christian Pavlas came across and got his pad on top of it obscuring the puck from the referee's view. The light went on and the Prowlers and their fans thought they had finally solved Pavlas but the referee never saw the puck go in and when Pavlas lifted his pad the puck was in the crease and ruled no goal.
Minutes later though Port Huron would get on the board with Matt Graham slotting home a rebound to make it 3-1 heading into the locker room.
Port Huron would roll with that momentum into that third but an early power play went wasted thanks to the Thunderbirds penalty kill unit which is best in the league. It took 10:41 into the third period but Robertson got his revenge on Pavlas scoring to make the game 3-2.
From there all craziness broke out in the last five minutes.
Peter Cicmanec scored his third goal in his last four games off of a 2-on-1 play with Tommy Mahoney to restore Carolina's 2-goal cushion. Port Huron fired back 38 seconds later with Robertson putting in his second of the night on a loose puck scramble in front of Pavlas.
Port Huron then pulled the netminder with a little over two minutes to play and cashed in with Matt Graham scoring his second of the game off another chaotic sequence in front of Pavlas.
With overtime looming the Thunderbirds earned an offensive zone faceoff and made the most of it. Joe Cangelosi won the draw clean from Matt Graham and Stan Vlasov blasted the puck over Cory Simons' shoulder with 22.8 seconds left to give Carolina all three points on the night.
Christian Pavlas stopped 22 of 26 shots in the win, his ninth straight victory for Carolina. Cory Simons stopped 29 of 34 Thunderbirds' shots in the loss.
Carolina now heads home for the remainder of their four straight game gauntlet for two with the Mentor Ice Breakers. Friday's game is a 7:35 puck drop with a 7:10 pregame show on the Carolina Thunderbirds broadcast network.
Three Stars of the Game
Matt Robertson (PTH)
Matt Graham (PTH)
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).