RIVER DRAGONS TAKE SERIES OVER CAROLINA; GO FOR SWEEP SATURDAY
by Zak DeBeaussaert
Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons came away with another regulation win against the Carolina Thunderbirds Friday night to win the series and go for a sweep on Saturday night. The final score was 3-1.
Carolina got the scoring started in this one, a first for the River Dragons that an opponent opened the scoring, with Fred Hein putting in a power play goal past a screened Jared Rutledge on a one-timer for a 1-0 lead that would last through the opening 20 minutes. Despite the 1-0 score line, other storylines started popping up as MJ Graham took penalties to give Carolina a 7:00 power play, yet Columbus was able to kill it all off aided by a Josh Koepplinger hooking call late in the seven minutes.
In the second period, Columbus began to put the game plan to work and tied the game up with a power play of their own as Mac Jansen one-timed a pass from behind the net past Zack Quinn for a 1-1 score. Late in the period with a full 2:00 4-on-4 on the ice the River Dragons speed began to show itself and Jake Schultz placed a shot perfectly in the top-right corner to give Columbus the lead heading into the locker room.
The third period drew a lot of intensity and back and forth play but the goalies stood tall for the majority of the period. It took until the 15:23 mark of the 3rd period but Mac Jansen would pot in his own rebound past Quinn for the insurance goal late in the game. That insurance goal gave the game its final score line of 3-1.
Jared Rutledge picked up the win stopping 30 of 31 shots he faced tonight. Zack Quinn picked up the loss with 31 saves on 34 shots.
The same two teams go at it again one more time on Saturday night with a 6:35 puck drop at the Civic Center. Tickets are still available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster. The River Dragons are also debuting on over-the-air television tomorrow night with a 6:00 pregame on WTVM 9.2 (Bounce). The radio network pregame starts at 6:05.
Three Stars of the Game