Thunderbirds Shutout by Ice Breakers

By Zak DeBeaussaert 

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds fell to the Mentor Ice Breakers, 3-0 on Saturday night. The goals came from Brody Duncan, Mark Essery, and Ryan Alves, and were all in the first period. 

After the first period though, goal scoring seemed to be the last thing on everyone's mind. The crowd of 2,779 at the Fairgrounds Annex were treated to fight after fight which resulted in 11 different game misconducts and 212 penalty minutes combined by the end of the night.

The nastiness began in the second period when a check from behind major was assessed to Mentor's Thomas Devesvre. Carolina's Jay Kenney earned himself two minutes going after Devesvre after that hit. The appetizer course that was the second period came to a head when Dominik Fejt and Mark Essery dropped gloves after Essery took a run at Thunderbirds goalie Christian Pavlas heading up to a stoppage. The shenanigans continued even after the horn had sounded when Ice Breakers backup goalie Matt Camilleri earned an unsportsmanlike conduct minor on the way back to the locker room.

The third period is where Pandora's box truly opened. At the 7:18 mark, Stanislav Vlasov and Mark Essery exchanged pleasantries which resulted in Vlasov shaking Essery like a ragdoll in the slot after a shot had blown in front of the net. Both were assessed minors with Essery also being handed a 10-minute misconduct for instigation. Essery would have a lot of company in the Mentor penalty box, while the Thunderbirds also filled up their own over the remainder of the game. At the 11:13 mark alone, 82 penalty minutes were handed out after a brawl ensued, starting with Drake Hunter taking a run at Pavlas. Everett Thompson and Taylor Love were ejected for Carolina, and so too was Mentor's Richard Pinkowski and Declan Conway. It didn't take long after all was sorted out for chaos to break out again. 25 seconds later, two fights popped up. The first involving Ryan Jasinsky and Brett Oldaker, and another involving Josh Pietrantonio and Thomas McKinnon. All parties except for Oldaker were ejected out of that scrum, and Jay Kenney was also tossed for a separate incident during the stoppage.

At the end of it all, both the Ice Breakers and the Thunderbirds were down to single digits on their benches when the final horn sounded and the Ice Breakers had won, 3-0.

The Thunderbirds now look ahead to next weekend, welcoming in the Port Huron Prowlers for a two-game set. There is a coat drive leading up to the game on Friday night with a 7:35 PM puck drop. Saturday is Kid's Jersey Night with a 6:05 PM puck drop, brought to you by Salem Smiles.

3 Stars of the Game:
Derek Moser
Gordy Bonnel
Ryan Alves 

Attendance: 2,779

Photo credit: V. Khouri