Thunderbirds Win 17th Straight in Front of Sellout Crowd
By Zak DeBeaussaert
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds adopted the Winston-Salem Polar Twins look as a part of Throwback Night at the Fairgrounds Annex, and a sold out crowd of 3,370 packed the arena to see their team win 4-2 over the Watertown Wolves on Saturday night.
Jiri Pargac opened the scoring at just over three minutes into the game with a shorthanded tally that saw the Thunderbirds complete a great passing play. Despite being down a man, Pargac was all alone in front against Watertown goalie Kent Nusbaum and deked his way to the game's first goal. The Wolves would respond later in the period with two goals less than two minutes apart. Lane King on a deflection and Tyler Gjurich on a breakaway pass set up by Gavin Yates, and before you knew it, Watertown was on top, 2-1 midway through the first. Chase Fallis and King would get into a fight on the puck drop right after the Gjurich goal to put the electricity back into the building. It was so intense that Fallis' jersey had ripped down the chest and required stitches to be back usable again in the second period.
The start of the second period was the first time in the last 56 periods of hockey that the Thunderbirds were down at opening faceoff. They had a fire lit under them by Head Coach Andre Niec and came out determined to take the lead back. Petr Panacek scored on the power play that had one second left in it with a blast from the right wing set up by a Chase Fallis pass. Then at 14:38, a Dominik Fejt shot would leak through Nusbaum and Everett Thompson poked it over the line to give the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead at the second break. The period wouldn't end without a bit of fireworks though. The bad blood between Jiri Pargac and Bryan Parsons finally came to a head as the two dropped the gloves with 45 seconds left in the frame.
The third period would see chances galore for both teams. Both Nusbaum and Thunderbirds goalie Christian Pavlas stopped everything until a 2-on-1 rush set up by an aggressive Watertown defense unit led to Jiri Pargac finishing the scoring with just over a minute to go in the game.
With their 4-2 win tonight Carolina moves their winning streak to 17 ahead of a three-game weekend with the Mentor Ice Breakers on the horizon.
3 Stars of the Game:
Photo credit: V. Khouri