Teamwork Gives Carolina 11th Straight Win
By Zak DeBeaussaert
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds played their fifth game in six nights on New Year's Eve, but with their dominant performance, you wouldn't know it. They cruised to a 6-2 win over the Danville Dashers to claim their 11th straight victory.
Tommy Mahoney got the scoring started, deflecting a Jay Kenney shot past Matt Kaludis to get on the board midway through the first period. That would be the only goal to go in through the first 20 minutes.
The second period was all about the power play, as Carolina potted in two on the man advantage, while Danville struck for the on the power play late in the frame. Stan Vlasov fired one low blocker past Matt Kaludis at 4:58 into the period, and Jiri Pargac added to Carolina's lead with a little more than five minutes to go, deflecting a Karel Drahorad shot in for his 11th on the year. Danville's Stephen Gaul drew back for the Dashers after some crisp tic tac toe passing from Justin Brausen and Aaron Atwell.
The Thunderbirds would not be denied coming out of the gates in the third. Even though they were on the penalty kill, Josh Pietrantonio streaked down the right wing, froze Kaludis with a fake shot, and wrapped one around and in the net for a 4-1 Carolina lead at just 40 seconds into the period. 36 seconds later Viktor Grebennikov slotted one home on a breakaway to all but seal the victory for Carolina. Danville's Daniel Martin got one a little over a minute after the Grebennikov goal from a good setup from new Dasher signing Cody Oakes, but Everett Thompson would bang home a rebound in the late stages to restore the four goal lead for the Thunderbirds and give the game its final score.
Carolina has now won 11 in a row with Christian Pavlas stopping 23 of 25 shots in the victory. Matt Kaludis stopped 25 of 31 shots in the loss.
Carolina now looks ahead to a New York road trip against the Elmira Enforcers on Friday and the Watertown Wolves on Saturday.
3 Stars of the Game:
Photo credit: V. Khouri