Thunderbirds Take Game 1
By DJ Palm
Port Huron, MI - Game 1 of this Commissioner's Cup Playoff series went to the Carolina Thunderbirds, as the Port Huron Prowlers could muster only seven shots at net in the third period. The victory gives Carolina a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series as they head to Winston-Salem.
Micheal Bunn broke the ice in the first period with just under six minutes left to play. Chris Paulin made 15 of his 36 saves in the first period, and the Thunderbirds took a one goal edge into the first intermission.
If you missed the second period then you pretty much missed all the scoring in the game. Jiri Pargac put Carolina up 2-0 at 3:26. However, back-to-back penalties from Josh Pietrantonio and Jan Salak woke up the Prowlers' offense. Both Alex Johnson and Matt Robertson scored power play goals to tie the game. Just past the midway point of the frame, the FHL's leading scorer in shorthanded goals Dalton Jay would put up a shorthanded goal to give the Prowlers the lead -- But it only lasted 29 seconds. Petr Panacek tied the game at 3, and Jay Croop put the Thunderbirds back on top, 4-3 just a couple minutes later.
At 6:32 of the third period Captain Josh Pietrantonio would give Carolina the insurance they needed, putting them up 5-3. Robertson would net a goal late in the frame to come within one point, but with 17 seconds left, the comeback was too little, too late.
The Thunderbirds take a 1-0 series lead back to Winston-Salem where the Prowlers will try to rebound in enemy territory. Game 2 puck drop is 7:05 PM on Saturday night.
Photo credit: T. Dalton Photography