Weekend Preview: Thunderbirds First Opponent in First Arena For FHL Hockey

Elmira, NY - The Carolina Thunderbirds are set to take on the Elmira Enforcers in what is anticipated to be a sold out game at First Arena in Elmira, New York for the Enforcers' home opener. The two teams will play twice this weekend, both games at 7:05 P.M. on Friday and Saturday nights.

These games will be the first hockey games played in First Arena since the Jackals in the ECHL left town over a year and a half ago.

Carolina and Elmira have already played twice this season with the Thunderbirds coming away victorious in both games at the Fairgrounds Annex on November 2 and 3 by scores of 6-4 and 3-1 respectively.

The Thunderbirds will be without one of their top defensemen in CJ Blaszka. Blaszka was loaned to the Evansville Thunderbolts this week after putting up a 6-game point streak to start the season.

Elmira on the other hand is looking a lot different since the Thunderbirds last saw them. Cal Miska, Stepan Timofeyev, Vitalii Tarasov, Mike Chemello, and Ryan Mulder have all recently been acquired by the Enforcers since the last time these two teams played. Combine those names with JT Walters who started the first four games of this season with Carolina before being traded and that's as much as a third of the dressed roster that could be different for Elmira this time around.

Elmira will also have Ahmed Mahfouz back from suspension beginning with this series.

Carolina continues to lead the league in special teams heading into this weekend's games with a 33.3% power play efficiency and a 95.7% penalty kill rate. Elmira sits at 15.6% on the power play (5th-FHL) and 75% on the penalty kill (4th-FHL).

The pregame show starts at 6:40 on WTOB (980AM/96.3FM and streaming at WTOB980.com) and on TFMSports.com where the Carolina audio only broadcast is free and the video packaged with the Elmira feed will cost for fans to view.


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).