Thunderbirds Edge Out Ice Breakers

by Angelo Velotta   
The second night of the two-game set was a close contest from Mentor Ice Arena as the visiting Carolina Thunderbirds defeated the Mentor Ice Breakers by a final score of 2-1. Carolina (17-1-0-1) broke an evenly matched scoreless first period on a goal scored by Vincent D'Andrea with 4 minutes and 20 seconds left. Michael Bunn had the assist for the Thunderbirds on a center-to-left pass that quickly slid across the ice, off the stick, and into the net to put Carolina up 1-0. It was D'Andrea's first goal scored this year.    
 D'Andrea's goal was the only tally of the first period, and for most of the second period, the game remained 1-0. It took a whole team effort from the Ice Breakers to withstand a four-minute penalty kill, but the guys in double blue did so successfully. However, with only 1 minute and 14 seconds left before the second break, Jan Salak skated on the left side and fed the puck to Daniel Martin for Martin's tenth goal of the season. Petr Panacek was also credited with an assist to put the visiting Thunderbirds up 2-0.       
  The Ice Breakers (11-9-0-0) never gave up and battled hard the whole game, and that stick-to-itiveness eventually paid off as Painesville, Ohio native Declan Conway became the first player this season in the Federal Prospects Hockey League to reach 20 goals. Conway scored on the unassisted play at 15 minutes and 36 seconds left off to go in the game from the left side of the slot and tucked the puck into the lower-left corner of the net to make it 2-1 in favor of Carolina. Mentor would get a flurry of offensive action near the Thunderbirds net in the final minute of play, but Carolina held to win a well-played contest by both teams by a 2-1 final.
 The Ice Breakers will now get set for a trio of games in the three days following Christmas with the Danbury Hat Tricks coming to Mentor Ice Arena on Thursday before matchups against the Port Huron Prowlers on both Friday and Saturday.