COLUMBUS RIVER DRAGONS at CAROLINA THUNDERBIRDS
THUNDERBIRDS ADVANCE TO COMMISSIONER'S CUP FINAL
by Brett Wiseman
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds advanced to their second Commissioner's Cup Final in franchise history with a 4-3 triumph over the Columbus River Dragons in a winner-take-all game 3 of the Continental Division Final.
Dawson Baker started the scoring for Carolina just 52 seconds in, beating Christian Pavlas with a wrist shot off the rush. Baker earned first star honors, assisting on Carolina's next two goals. Those two came from Josh Koepplinger on the power play and Gus Ford at 5:19 and 9:55 of the first period respectively. Christian Pavlas was chased from the Columbus crease after Ford's first of the playoffs.
Jacob Schnapp would round out Carolina's scoring with a power play goal in the second period.
Greg Hussey was spectacular in net again, stopping 41 of 44 Columbus shots.
The Thunderbirds await the winner of the Empire Division Final between the Danbury Hat Tricks and Binghamton Black Bears. Game 3 of that series will be tomorrow night at 7:00.
A schedule for the Commissioner's Cup Final will be announced later this week. Once the schedule is announced, tickets will be on sale.
RIVER DRAGONS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE AFTER GAME THREE LOSS
Comeback Falls Short in 4-3 Loss
by Tom Callahan
Winston-Salem, NC - The Columbus River Dragons tried to erase a 3-0 first period deficit and ended up falling just short in a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon, ending the team’s Commissioner’s Cup Playoff run.
A slow start saw the River Dragons down 3-0 halfway through the first period, but after Columbus sent Breandan Colgan in to relieve starter Christian Pavlas the game began to level out.
The River Dragons got on the scoreboard midway through the second period on Paul Fregeau’s second goal in as many games at 8:47.
Carolina would score again before the end of the period to carry a 4-1 lead into the third.
It was there that the River Dragons comeback began, first with a goal from Alexander Jmaeff at 10:06, tucking home a loose puck behind goaltender Greg Hussey (41 saves) to make it a 4-2 game. Then with Colgan on the bench for the extra attacker Lane King drew the River Dragons within a goal with 1:14 remaining.
Despite pulling Colgan once again, Columbus could not find the equalizer and Carolina claimed the 4-3 win and with it the series two games to one.