Cicmanec's Last Second Goal Gives Thunderbirds the Weekend Sweep

By Zak DeBeaussaert 

Winston-Salem, NC - There's plenty of clichés about the last second of any sporting contest, and on Saturday night the Carolina Thunderbirds proved them right with a goal from Peter Cicmanec with one second left to beat the Elmira Enforcers, 2-1.

Elmira took an early lead in the first period on the power play after the Thunderbirds couldn't clear their zone. A weird bounce off the stanchions found Anton Lennartsson who patiently set up his shot and buried it top right corner over Frankie McClendon for the game's opening goal less than five minutes in. While that was all the scoring in the period, it would end on a dramatic note with Cameron Yarwood being tossed out of the game on a spearing game misconduct that created a ruckus at center ice as the teams were heading off to the locker room.

There was no scoring in the second period, but there was another spearing game misconduct. This time it was Carolina's Steve MacIntyre who found himself thrown out of the game about four minutes into the second period. The resulting four-on-four play and man-advantage time for Elmira yielded not many opportunities and the teams headed off after 40 minutes still at 1-0 Elmira.

It took 56:56 of regulation hockey but the Thunderbirds were finally able to solve Troy Passingham with a centering pass from Michael Bunn on the stick of Ray Boudiette and his one-time blast found twine for a 1-1 game. We seemed destined for overtime but a late penalty for cross checking against Yan Dumontier put the Thunderbirds on a power play for the remainder of regulation. With seconds to go, Bunn fired a shot that was saved by Passingham but the resulting rebound fluttered into the air like a flying saucer and fell to the ice in the crease. Cicmanec jumped at the puck and was able to poke it home with one second left on the clock to give Carolina all three points on the night and sweep Elmira for the weekend.

Frankie McClendon remains perfect on the year at 8-0 with 20 saves on 21 shots. Troy Passingham took the tough loss, stopping 49 of 51 shots in the game.

Carolina now looks ahead to four straight on the road in Port Huron and Danville before finishing the regular season at home against the Danville Dashers. Carolina has locked up the #1 seed in the FHL Playoffs and are five points away from clinching the best record in FHL history by points percentage.

3 Stars of the Game:
Peter Cicmanec
Ray Boudiette
Frankie McClendon 

Attendance: 3,050

Photo credit: V. Khouri