4 For 4: Thunderbirds Remain Perfect
By Zak DeBeaussaert
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds kept up their perfect record with a pair of third period goals, proving the difference over the Elmira Enforcers Saturday night, 3-1.
The Thunderbirds were on the wrong side of the scoreline first when the Enforcers potted the first goal of the game at the 15:03 mark of the first period. The Enforcers' Brandon Vuic tapped in an easy goal after the backboards at the Annex proved too springy for Henry Dill's liking off of a Cameron Yarwood shot. The Thunderbirds would draw back even after Josh Pietrantonio scored his third goal of the season with two pretty dekes to sit down a defenseman and the Enforcers netminder Troy Passingham to slot home the tying goal 1:44 after the Vuic goal.
The teams went through the second period scoreless, but the fans still had something to cheer about as Karel Drahorad dropped the gloves for the first time in his FHL career against Martin Trudman. The two threw haymakers for a good 40+ seconds before eventually being separated by the linesmen right in front of the Enforcers' bench.
The third period was the difference in this one and the Thunderbirds made sure it was their period with a goal from Chase Fallis at the 3:25 mark while on the power play, which was scored in a similar fashion to Vuic's game opening goal. The springy backboards didn't play favorites tonight, giving each team a goal. With the Enforcers goalie puled, the Thunderbirds facing an icing call, and a tried group of players out there, Interim Head Coach Ahmed Mahfouz called timeout with 25 seconds left to draw up a play in an attempt to tie the game up. What wasn't in Mahfouz's plans was centerman Joe Cangelosi winning the draw forward and Everett Thompson winning a race with the last legs he had in him to get ahead of the Enforcers' defense and putting in the empty netter with 18 second to go in the game. Thompson's empty netter clinched the win for the Thunderbirds who are now perfect through their first four games this season, attaining 12 points out of 12.
Henry Dill picked up his third win of the season with a 24 save performance. Troy Passingham took the loss, stopping 46 of 48 shots he faced.
The Thunderbirds welcome in the Danville Dashers next week in what is sure to be a fantastic series between the top two teams in the FHL. Tickets are available at the Fairgrounds box office or online by searching Carolina Thunderbirds on Ticketmaster. Friday's game drops at 7:35 PM, and Saturday is scheduled for a 6:05 PM puck drop.
3 Stars of the Game:
Photo credit: V. Khouri