Thunderbirds Set Record with 22 Straight Victories
By Nate Williamson
Danville, IL - The Danville Dashers fell just short of ending the Carolina Thunderbirds' win streak on Saturday night. A tight, physical game at the David S. Palmer Arena would see Carolina edge out Danville with a 4-3 victory on Guns and Hoses Night.
The night started hot in front of 1,365 fans as both teams exchanged heavy hits early on in the first period. It was Carolina that struck first after Taylor Cutting went to the box for a tripping penalty. Thunderbirds Captain Josh Pietrantonio scored on assists from Mike Baker and Jan Salak. Though the period ended with just that lone goal, Danville netminder Matt Kaludis stopped 23 shots.
It was just the second shot of the second period that made its way through Matt Kaludis as Jan Salak buried the puck. Kaludis was screened heavily, but the Dashers were kept out of the offensive ice by some stifling Carolina pressure. Fred Hein scored the first Dashers goal of the night after Daniel Martin and Nathan Campbell linked up to put on a beautiful passing display, finding Hein in the slot. He wasted no time firing home, and cutting the Thunderbirds lead to just one goal. The Dashers tied things up at 2-2 after Ryan Alves scored on a 5-on-3 power play, with Michael Bunn and Tommy Mahoney each going to the box for delay of game and interference, respectively. The tie didn't last long, however, as Patrik Zilak went to the box for interference, and Karel Drahorad pounced on the advantage to score on assists from Jiri Pargac and Mike Baker. The two teams went into the final intermission with a 3-2 score.
The third period, much like the rest of the game, was intense from the start, but really heated up at 6:27 when Dominik Fejt dropped the gloves on an unsuspecting Taylor Cutting after a big hit. Both received the customary five-minute major for fighting, and Dominik Fejt left the ice for the remainder of the game. Danville tied the game once again as Nathan Pelligra brought the home crowd to a frenzy after redirecting a Nathan Campbell shot past Christian Pavlas. In what became a trend in this contest, Carolina answered back quickly when Joe Cangelosi found the back of the net on an assist from Michael Bunn, as a screen was just enough to beat Matt Kaludis for the game-winning goal. Despite pulling Kaludis with just under a minute left, Carolina took the game, breaking the FHL record for longest consecutive win-streak.
The 1st Star was Mike Baker for three assists on the night The 2nd Star was Joe Cangelosi for the game-winning goal. Daniel Martin was the 3rd Star with two assists.
The Dashers are back at David S. Palmer Arena on Friday, February 8th when they take on the Elmira Enforcers. Puck drop is set at 7:05 PM.
Photo credit: LMB Studios