Carolina Makes it 10 in a Row After Chippy Affair

By Zak DeBeaussaert 

Winston-Salem, NC - Something about Saturday nights at the Annex between Carolina and Mentor brings out the madness. Maybe it's the sellout crowds of 3,000+, or maybe it's the fierce rivalry brewing between the teams. Whatever it was, it produced something insane for those in attendance. After Saturday, November 24th saw 212 penalty minutes and a 3-0 Ice Breakers win, tonight produced 189 penalty minutes and a 5-1 Thunderbirds win.

The first period started rather mundane, albeit heavily in favor of the Thunderbirds with a 17-6 shot advantage and a 1-0 lead courtesy of Chase Fallis.

The second period saw another fast start from Carolina, but it was spurred on because of a Mentor goal at 38 seconds into the frame. Brett Oldaker intercepted a Jay Kenney dump in and went 2-on-0 against Frankie McClendon. Oldaker buried it past the blocker hand and it was 1-1. 40 seconds later Michael Bunn unleashed a blast to restore Carolina's lead, with assists to Jan Salak and Joe Cangelosi. Chase Fallis would add his second of the night after a crazy bounce off the backboards careened in off of a Mentor player. The score remained at 3-1 heading into the third period. 

Just like the calm before the storm, Jiri Pargac scored at 1:32 of the third to make it 4-1. That proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and Pandora's box opened up 12 seconds later when Jan Salak was boarded by Dmitri Danilyuk. That hit created a gathering which then spun into Brody Duncan and Karel Drahorad having one of the most spirited fights you'll see in the FHL. After Duncan and Drahorad separated (and slapped hands after the fight, for what it's worth) it would seem all would be back to normal. Ivan Vilcauskas had other ideas when he began shouting at the Thunderbirds bench after the fight, and then speared Chase Fallis in the face when a gathering emerged. If Pandora's box was already open, the lid was now blown off and pandemonium ensued. Multiple players left the bench and different fights popped up everywhere, including John Sellie-Hanson and Frankie McClendon at the Carolina end, which sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Referees sorted out the issues and ejected both goalies and multiple players from each team. The night wasn't done for the referees, however. Everett Thompson and Richard Pinkowski each earned 4 minutes with double minors for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct each for a scuffle midway through the third. Jiri Pargac scored his second goal of the night to make it 5-1 and was hit from behind by Matt Kadolph in the Carolina end. This caused a scrap between Kadolph and Drahorad, which resulted in both players being ejected. The night was finally over penalty-wise when Dominik Fejt fought Mark Essery in the final minute and both guys were given the gate.

All in all, the sellout crowd of 3,050 saw 6 goals, 189 penalty minutes, and the Thunderbirds' 10th consecutive win. Carolina now looks ahead to New Year's Eve when they host the Danville Dashers for an 8:35 PM puck drop.

3 Stars of the Game:
Viktor Grebennikov
Frankie McClendon
Chase Fallis

Attendance: 3,050

Photo credit: V. Khouri