Thunderbirds Win FPHL Record 45th Game This Season
By Zak DeBeaussaert
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds dominated the final two periods of play to take the first game of their weekend series with the Elmira Enforcers, 6-1. Friday night was also Carolina's 45th win (44 regulation, 1 OT) which is an FPHL record.
Carolina's power play got them on the board first, with Chase Fallis slapping home a rebound just under five minutes into the game. For the Thunderbirds, it was exciting to get on the power play after going a combined 0-16 in the last three games against the Enforcers. Two minutes later, however, the Enforcers would tie things up with a power play of their own. Anton Lennartsson potted a juicy rebound on a one timer from the left circle to knot the game at 1. Carolina would retake the lead before intermission through Petr Panacek who scored after a great one-touch pass by Jay Croop that set up the right hander's quick snapshot to beat Nick Niedert.
The second period was a very grindy that had Carolina continuing to dictate play but with nothing to show for it. Then, Michael Bunn came into the zone on a 2-on-2 and every Elmira eye was on the man on a 5-game goal streak. Instead of shooting, Bunn fired a phenomenal backdoor pass to Peter Cicmanec who buried it to make the game 3-1.
The third period was more of the same with Carolina continuing to assert their will, and this time they would not be denied scoring in bunches. First, it was Chase Fallis on a backhand shot that beat Niedert low. Taylor Love would score at 15:50 from an acute angle, also going low on Niedert to make it 5-1. Finally, as the game was winding down with less than two minutes to go, Josh Pietrantonio lasered one to the top right corner past Niedert's glove to give the game its final score of 6-1. Both teams will carry over some words and harsh feelings though, as the horn sounded there was a gathering of players that came about in the neutral zone. As the temperature began to cool down, teams eventually left the ice, ready to get at each other tomorrow night.
Christian Pavlas took home the win on this record breaking night with 18 saves on 19 shots. Nick Niedert suffered the loss, stopping 43 of 49 shots.
The same two teams go at it one final time this regular season with a 6:05 PM puck drop at the Fairgrounds Annex. Less than 500 tickets remain for Saturday which is Cancer Awareness Night brought to you by Mac & Nelli's with specialty jerseys available for auction at LiveSource.
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Photo credit: V. Khouri