Playoffs Game Recaps 4/26/24


Carolina Falls in Game One, 3-0

Karpinski makes 34 saves in loss


by Brendan Reilly

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds dropped Game One of the Commissioners Cup Semifinals to the Columbus River Dragons, 3-0, on Friday evening at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Arena. 


Columbus opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the 1st period on a scramble in front of the net. After the puck skirted around the crease, Austin Daae poked home his fourth goal of the postseason giving the visitors a 1-0 advantage. 


Just over two minutes later, Hugh Anderson doubled the advantage over Carolina on a snap shot from the top of the slot, giving Columbus a 2-0 lead going to the 2nd


Carolina had opportunities on the power play but could not beat Breandan Colgan and when Columbus got its first power play, Kyle Moore found the back of the net right in front at the 14:57 mark of the 2nd period as the River Dragons took a 3-0 lead into the 3rd


Across the final 20 minutes, Carolina could not beat Colgan as the River Dragons went on to take Game One, 3-0.


The Commissioners Cup Semifinals shifts to Columbus, Georgia for Game Two with the River Dragons ahead, 1-0. Puck drop for Game Two is set for 7:35 p.m. on Saturday from the Columbus Civic Center.


River Dragons Head Home Needing Just One More Win to Advance to Championship Finals


by Tom Callahan

Winston-Salem, NC - Breandan Colgan made 28 saves for his second playoff shutout and the Columbus River Dragons took Game One of the Continental Division Final from the Carolina Thunderbirds 3-0 on Friday night.

Carolina opened the contest with a strong offensive push that saw Colgan make six or seven strong saves and get help from a goal post along the way to keep the game scoreless.

Later in the frame the River Dragons would score twice 2:04 apart. A goalmouth scramble led to the first goal, as Carolina netminder Cody Karpinski had the puck resting against his left pad but could not cover it for the whistle. Austin Daae poked the puck over the goalline to make it 1-0 River Dragons.

Rookie defenseman Hugh Anderson followed with his first pro playoff goal, wristing a shot over the left shoulder of Karpinski to make it 2-0 at intermission.

In the second period Colgan once again kept the Thunderbirds at bay while Kyle Moore scored a power play goal at 14:57 to give Columbus an insurance goal heading into the third period.

Despite the Thunderbirds pulling the goaltender for the extra attacker with three minutes left in regulation the River Dragons held firm, capping off the shutout victory and heading home with a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.


  • Daae’s goal was his league-leading fourth postseason goal. Daae also leads all playoff scorers with eight points (4-4-8) and two game-winning goals in his first three playoff games.
  • Josh Pietrantonio added two helpers to lead the FPHL in playoff assists with six.
  • The shutout was Colgan’s second straight playoff blanking, coming on the heels of holding the Mississippi Sea Wolves off the board in Game Two of the Continental Division Semifinal.

Columbus can now close out the series with a win Saturday night at the Columbus Civic Center in Game Two. Puck drop is slated for 7:35 pm, with tickets on sale via and the Civic Center Box Office.


Rockers Drop Game 1 In Empire Division Final, 4-3, To Binghamton

by Ben Szilagy

Fraser, MI - The Motor City Rockers dropped Game 1 of the Empire Division Finals, 4-3, to the Binghamton Black Bears on Friday night. 

The Rockers were able to get a 1-0 lead thanks to another breakaway from TJ Delaney, his fourth of the playoffs, and his first conversion.

After losing a faceoff draw in their own end, Motor City was sprung when Josh Fletcher tried a centering attempt on a rebound that slipped through the goal mouth and bounced into the neutral zone. Delaney was back deep to collect the puck as he walked it into the offensive zone. His initial shot was stopped but he followed his own rebound for a 1-0 lead with 4:21 to play in the opening period and his second goal of the playoffs.

Binghamton was able to counter that with a 2-on-1 and a little bit of puck luck in the second period to give themselves a lead that it wouldn’t give up. 

Midway through the second period Tyson Kirkby and Cam Clark were sprung by Clark who chipped the puck out of the defensive zone.

Kirby raced into the attacking zone to create pressure and then centered the puck to a trailing Clark who stepped into a quick wrister for his first goal of the night, and of the playoffs that tied the score 1-1. 

Five minutes later when the Black Bears were creating more offensive pressure Colan Fitzgerald was able to keep the attack coming with a play at center ice. He pushed the puck ahead to Gavin Yates who then centered the puck back to Fitzgerald. As he touched it, it ricocheted off a Rocker skate and into the net for a 2-1 lead with 6:28 to play in the 2nd period. 

Connor Smith added to the lead in the third period when he was able to dangle into the slot around a Rocker and still got a stick on the puck for his third goal of the playoffs and a 3-1 lead with 12:46 to play.

Motor City was able to stay afloat and pull back within one, 3-2, on the power play when Josh Colten worked the puck from the nearside wall to the point to Lane King. King then ripped into a shot that was deflected by TJ Sneath for his third of the playoffs.

The Rockers penalty kill has been unbeatable this postseason. Motor City has killed 19-of-19 power play attempts on the Rockers so far through four games. 

Clark was able to help Binghamton pull away with his second goal of the night with 5:20 remaining in the game before Jonathan Julian earned his first postseason goal a minute and a half later.

The Rockers and Black Bears will play on Saturday at Visions Veteran Memorial at 7:00pm. You can listen to the game on 101.5FM/ 1400AM and on with pre-game starting at 6:50pm.


by Brooks Hill

Fraser, MI- The Binghamton Black Bears defeated the Motor City Rockers 4-3 on Friday night. Cam Clark had two goals and Gavin Yates added a pair of assists in the third victory of the post season. 

The semifinal round began in a tight-checking, back-and-forth fashion. The Rockers opened the scoring off an unfortunate centering pass from the Black Bears. TJ Delaney buried a rebound off the initial save by Connor McAnanama, putting the Rockers on the board first. Even though Binghamton had more high-danger chances, Motor City led 1-0 after the first period. 

Binghamton was able to tie the game early in the second with Cam Clark’s first postseason goal. Clark came flying into the play, right out of the penalty box, and was set up by the captain, Tyson Kirkby. With momentum on their side, Binghamton added a second goal by defenseman, Colan Fitzgerald, his second of the postseason. While neither side was able to convert on their two power plays, Binghamton carried a one-goal lead into the room, after 40. 

The third period was high scoring, as the two sides combined for four goals. At the 7:14 mark of the period, Binghamton added an insurance goal from Connor Smith, but it was quickly answered by TJ Sneath. The Black Bears third line went to work again on the forecheck, and were able to force a turnover, that led to the second Clark goal of the evening. With 5:20 remaining, the Black Bears had a two-goal advantage. 

Motor City was able to grab one more goal, but unable to convert the game-tying goal with the net empty. Binghamton wins game one of the semifinals 4-3 on the road.