by Dillon Clark
Winston-Salem, NC – Returning home for the third game of a 3-in-3, the Carolina Thunderbirds beat the Port Huron Prowlers by a score of 5-3. Another three-point night for Tommy Cardinal and two more goals from Gus Ford pushed Carolina to victory.
An end-to-end first period saw tons of opportunities, no goals, and a goaltending clinic from Cory Simons and Chris Paulin. Carolina edged the Prowlers in shots 11-9, but was unable to break through. Chris Paulin made a number of dazzling stops and held the game scoreless to the end of the first period.
The second period is where this game came to life, with five goals scored in bunches. After Alex Johnson was ejected for a hit from behind on Vaughn Clouston, the Thunderbirds found themselves on a five minute powerplay. A Ramil Talipov tripping penalty would force Carolina to take a break from their man advantage. On the ensuing 4-on-4, Austin Fetterly would send a wrister from the point throught traffic, beating Chris Paulin over the glove. The Port Huron lead was short-lived however, as Ramil Talipov would exit the penalty box to put home a Jacob Schnapp rebound to tie the game. The goal served not only as Talipov’s first of the season, but it also brought a cascade of teddy bears from the stands for the team’s annual teddy bear toss. After the bears were cleared, Dalton Jay would score a shorthanded goal right off the faceoff to put Port Huron back ahead, 2-1. Gus Ford and Tommy Cardinal would combine for a pair of goals at the end of the frame for a 3-2 Carolina lead.
Dalton Jay began the third period with a powerplay goal, wasting no time in tying the game at 3-3. Responding in the nick of time, Gus Ford found himself on a 2-on-1 with John Buttitta. He would look off Simons by showing the pass, then snapping it five-hole for the game winning goal. Daniel Martin would add an empty net goal, and a powder keg of emotion was sparked at the end of the game. With two second left, play was stopped for a puck over the glass. Port Huron’s Brennan Young would skate throught the goal crease after the play and slew foot Chris Paulin. Viktor Grebennikov would immediately jump on Young, and fights would break out all over the ice. Tommy Cardinal would fight not only Young, but Nick Williams as well. Williams was ejected for leaving the bench to fight. By time it was all said and done, 96 penalty minutes had been handed out, and the Thunderbirds left the ice with a 5-3 win.
Carolina advances to 6-6-1-1 on the season, winning two of three games against the Prowlers. They now turn their attention to a neutral site game against Columbus on the 17th. Puck drop from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, MS is scheduled for 7:05 Central Standard Time.