Weekend Preview: Carolina Aims For Top Seed In Playoffs
Elmira, NY - This weekend Carolina travels to First Arena to take on the Elmira Enforcers in a three-game weekend set. Both teams enter this weekend with something to attain before the three games are through.
The Thunderbirds are three points away from clinching the #1 seed in the FHL playoffs this season, while Elmira is three points away from securing a playoff spot in their inaugural season. With nine points on the line this weekend it is possible both teams get what they are aiming for, though both teams will do everything in their power to prevent the other from celebrating this weekend.
"It's a tough atmosphere here and the games against Elmira all really do feel like playoff games" head coach Andre Niec said. "We've got to stay focused on playing our game and coming away with the wins this weekend, playoffs will get here when its time."
The Thunderbirds enter this weekend’s series with a 36 point lead over the Enforcers in the standings, but that doesn't tell the story of the season series between these two teams. All nine games this season between Elmira and Carolina have been close, being decided by two or fewer goals with the latest game needing overtime on Sunday, February 24. In that game Elmira got their first win of the season series.
Carolina will look to their two leading scorers this season Jan Salak and Josh Pietrantonio, who not only lead Carolina with 64 points each to their names but have the most points of any Thunderbirds' players against Elmira. Salak has registered nine points and Pietrantonio has eight. Over on the Enforcers' side, Ahmed Mahfouz (5 points) and Sean Reynolds (4 points) are the leading scorers for Elmira against the Thunderbirds. All four of those men look to give their team the push they need to come away with multiple wins this weekend.
The Thunderbirds and Enforcers both left last weekend with sweeps over the Port Huron Prowlers and Danville Dashers respectively.
Friday and Saturday’s game starts at 7:05PM with a 6:40PM pregame show on the Carolina Thunderbirds radio network. Sunday’s game starts at 4:05PM with a 3:40PM pregame show. The “Voice of the Thunderbirds” Zak DeBeaussaert will call all the action this weekend.
After this weekend in Elmira, Carolina returns home for four games over two weekends at the Fairgrounds Annex. March 15 and 16 the Thunderbirds host the Mentor Ice Breakers with Saturday's game being St. Patrick's Night with specialty jerseys brought to you by Cricket Wireless. Tickets are on sale at the Fairgrounds Box Office or online at TicketMaster.
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 have set an FHL record again, breaking their own record with over 66,000 fans through the doors this season.