Thunderbirds Put Up Numbers in Home Opening Win

by Dillon Clark

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds opened their home schedule Saturday night against the Delaware Thunder, generating a ton of offense enroute to an 8-2 victory. Dawson Baker recorded his first four-goal night of his FPHL career. Goaltender Mario Cavaliere recorded 28 saves in his first regulation victory.

Nathan Campbell returned to the Thunderbirds lineup after missing Friday night’s contest with an upper body injury. He recorded his first goal of the season just six minutes into the opening period with a blast from the high slot. Center Dawson Baker followed up with a five-hole snipe of Delaware goaltender Trevor Martin just 1:45 later, widening the lead to 2-0. Lucas Rowe joined the scoring frenzy two minutes further on, recording his third goal of the season at 9:33 and giving Carolina the 3-0 lead. Carolina then went to a powerplay after a Delaware too many men on the ice penalty, but it was the Thunder who struck back, with Houston Wilson recording a shorthanded goal. After 20 minutes, Carolina retained a 3-1 lead.

In the second period, Delaware struck back early. Dennis Gafarov beat goaltender Mario Cavaliere to bring the Thunder within a goal just 2:43 into the middle frame. Carolina’s Dawson Baker responded almost immediately with another tally, making the game 4-2 43 seconds later. John Buttitta would add a powerplay tally at the end of the second period, his first goal of the season widening the gap to 5-2.

In period three, Jeff Burridge wasted no time recording his first goal of his FPHL career. John Buttitta and Tucker Firth received assists on the tally, giving Firth his first FPHL point in the process. Dawson Baker would add another powerplay goal and even strength tally before the clock struck 0:00. Baker’s four-goal night powered Carolina to an 8-2 victory in its home opener in front of nearly 3,000 fans. Gus Ford recorded five assists in the process, and captain John Buttitta enjoyed a four-point night.

The Thunderbirds return to the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex next Friday night against the Danbury Hat Tricks. Puck drop on Friday, November 4th is scheduled for 7:35pm. For tickets, visit