Thunderbirds Score Early and Often to Defeat the Wolves

by Jeff Barrett

Watertown, NY.-For the second time this season, and the first in the new year, the Carolina Thunderbirds travelled to upstate New York to take on the Watertown Wolves. The Wolves won the first meeting back on November 25th 5-4 in a shootout. 

Period number one would be a battle of goal keepers early as Wolves starter Owen Liskiewicz and the Thunderbirds Boris Babik were both challenged on several times and had to make some big saves. Carolina would be the first to break the scoring barrier when Petr Panacek knocked home a rebound off a Lucas Rowe shot, beating Liskiewicz to the left side.

The period would end with the score 1-0 in favor of Carolina. The Thunderbirds were 0 for 2 on power plays in the first while Watertown went 0 for 1. Carolina out shot the Wolves 15-10 for the period. 

Period number two would find the Thunderbirds scoring early and often to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Josh Koepplinger lit the lamp at the 2:53 mark to start the scoring, assisted by John Buttita, making the score 2-0. Lucas Rowe would add to the Thunderbirds lead at 7:47 when he was able to get loose in the short slot area and slice a shot over the blocker of Liskiewicz. Assists on the goal would go to Blake Peavey and Gus Ford, extending the lead to 3-0 on a power play goal. 

At the 15:25 mark, Josh Koepplinger intercepted a Wolves clearing pass, and got the puck to Blake Peavey streaking between two Wolves defenders. Peavey took advantage of the 1 on 1 chance and beat Liskiewicz over the shoulder to score a short handed goal and make the score 4-0. 

Watertown was able to finally solve the Boris Babik puzzle when Matt Brown took a crossing pass from Mathias Tellstrom and sent it to the top left corner of the goal, cutting into the Carolina lead 3-1 at 19:17 of the second. 

Period number 2 ended with that score with Watertown out shooting Carolina 21-12 for the frame.
It wouldn't take long in period number 3 for Carolina to add to their lead when Lucas Rowe scored his second of the night at just 1:25 into the period unassisted. That would be the end of the night for Liskiewicz who was replaced by Travis Smith. Josh Koeplinger added an insurance goal 2 minutes and 17 seconds later at 3:43 to extend the lead to 6-1. 

Carolina outshot Watertown 45-40 for the game. The Thunderbirds were 1 for 6 on power play tries while the Wolves went 0 for 6. 

The Wolves are back in action Friday and Saturday night as they host the Mississippi Sea Wolves for the first time. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 both nights. 

Carolina heads to Danbury to face the Hat Tricks Friday and Saturday.