Carolina Wins 19th Straight with Gritty Effort

By Zak DeBeaussaert 

Winston-Salem, NC - A capacity crowd at the Fairgrounds Annex were on pins and needles through much of the game, but two third period goals from the Carolina Thunderbirds gave the home team a 3-1 win over the Mentor Ice Breakers on Saturday night.

The first period was dominated by Carolina but it took over 18 minutes to solve Mentor netminder John Sellie-Hanson. The opening goal came off of a Jay Kenney shot that was sent high in the air after a stick save by Sellie-Hanson. Joe Cangelosi patiently waited for it to fall to crossbar level and then batted it in for the game's opening goal. A referee's conference after the play eventually kept the goal on the board. 

With a slim 1-0 lead, Carolina kept their foot on the gas pedal, but Mentor would tie the game with a shorthanded goal from Gordy Bonnel. The goal kept Bonnel's point streak going to 16 games and was something the Ice Breakers hadn't done since the first game of the season -- Score a shorthanded goal on the Thunderbirds. The second period wouldn't go without some fireworks though, as Mike Baker and Matt Kadolph dropped the gloves for an intense fight that would end with blood on the ice and a delay in the game to clean it up. Both men went off to the locker room for repairs and Kadolph had to change his number after the fight due to blood on his #3 jersey. The score was tied at 1-1 going into the second intermission.

A crowd of 3,000+ waited and were eventually rewarded when Tommy Mahoney scored on a deflection that went through the legs of Sellie-Hanson and sent the Annex into a frenzy. About four minutes later Jan Salak scored on a power play after some great tic-tac passing involving Baker and Jiri Pargac to give the game its final scoreline of 3-1.

Christian Pavlas stopped 27 of 28 shots he faced in the game for the win. John Sellie-Hanson took the loss for Mentor, stopping 38 of 41 shots put on him.

The Thunderbirds now head to Mentor to finish off this three games in three days stretch and will look to keep their win streak alive on the road. Puck drop is at 4:35 PM with a 4:10 PM Pregame Show on the Thunderbirds Radio Network.

3 Stars of the Game:
Mike Baker
Jan Salak
Chase Fallis 

Attendance: 3,150

Photo credit: V. Khouri