MISSISSIPPI SEA WOLVES at CAROLINA THUNDERBIRDS
CAROLINA CONQUERS SEA WOLVES FOR SECOND STRAIGHT NIGHT
by Brett Wiseman
Winston-Salem, NC.- In a game that had seemingly everything, the final score did not indicate how close of a contest it was through the first two and a half periods.
A game that had bruising physicality, scoring chances galore, tight checking and great goaltending the Carolina Thunderbirds pulled away from a pesky Mississippi Sea Wolves squad for an 8-3 triumph.
A sellout crowd of 3,200 fans inside the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex saw the Thunderbirds second straight victory, and their 11th in their last thirteen contests.
Jiri Pestuka stayed hot, opening the scoring just 58 seconds into the game off of a set faceoff play. Jake Raleigh evened things up for the Sea Wolves 8 minutes later.
Both teams traded goals in the middle frame. A power play marker from league-point leader Gus Ford plus a Josh Koepplinger goal made up Carolina's second period scoring, while Yianni Liarakos and another from Raleigh set things tied at 3 after forty minutes of play.
It was a seven second stretch early in the third that flipped the game on its head.
At the 2:40 mark of the third period, Ford found a way through the Sea Wolves defense and ripped home a wicked wrist shot to give the Thunderbirds the lead.
Just seven seconds later, Koepplinger wired home a wicked wrister of his own, and Carolina never looked back.
Jan Salak put home his 8th goal of the year in his first game back from injury, and Dawson Baker scored his 11th goal of the season in just his second game back. Mixed in between those two tallies was another goal from Koepplinger, as his hat trick earned him first star honors.
Boris Babik was stalwart in net, stopping 26 of 29 shots and mixing in a few spectacular glove stops along the way.
Carolina continues their season long six-game homestand next weekend when the Thunderbirds welcome the Watertown Wolves to Winston-Salem.
Sea Wolves Struck by Thunderbirds in Third Period
by Nick Roesch
Winston-Salem, NC – The Mississippi Sea Wolves surrendered five goals in the third period on Saturday night as they lost 8-3 to the Carolina Thunderbirds at the WinstonSalem Fairground Annex.
The Thunderbirds found the opening goal just 58 seconds into the game after Jiri Pestuka blasted home a shot right after a faceoff. Mississippi found their response from Jake Raleigh, who scored on an odd-man rush at 7:52 of the first period to knot the count at 1-1.
The second portion of play saw each team trade a pair of goals. Yianni Liarakos’ goal ballooned his point streak to seven games before Raleigh connected for his second of the night. Carolina saw Gus Ford and Josh Koepplinger rise as scorers as the teams stood at a 2-2 stalemate after 40 minutes of action.
Carolina turned the game on its head in the third period, beginning with two strikes just seven seconds apart between Ford and Koepplinger. Koepplinger went on to secure a hat trick before the Thunderbirds added Jan Salak and Dawson Baker to the scoring list.
The special teams on each side got a workout with the Sea Wolves seeing seven power plays compared to Carolina’s 11. The Thunderbirds led in shots on net 38-29.
After having next weekend off from games, the Sea Wolves will be set for a home game on Friday, February 10 against the Motor City Rockers. The puck meets the ice at 7:05pm and fans can purchase tickets at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum box office or online at Ticketmaster.com.