Thunderbirds Win in Shootout

by Drew Blevins 
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- The Carolina Thunderbirds survived the Mentor Ice Breakers in a shootout thriller on Friday at The Annex, 3-2.   "Both goaltenders played extremely well," said head coach Andre Niec, "it came down to the penalty shootout and we got lucky tonight."   The Thunderbirds opened the scoring when Daniel Martin tallied his 13th goal of the season 18:44 into the opening frame. Everett Thompson, who left the game after taking a puck in the face in the second period, assisted on the goal.   Mentor answered by scoring two special-teams goals in the second period. Declan Conway scored his team-leading 26th goal on the powerplay and Dzmitry Daniliuk capitalized on a feed from Steven Fowler to notch a shorthanded goal, his first of the season.   After failing to score on the powerplay, Jo Osaka deflected a shot from Stanislav Bachor to tie the game 12:04 into the second. Osaka had not played since Nov. 16 vs. Danbury and now has seven points (4g, 3a) in nine games played.   The Thunderbird powerplay was 0-for-6 on the night, marking the third straight game that Carolina has failed to score on the powerplay.   "There is always room to improve on the man-advantage," said Niec, "We didn't get the bounces tonight."   Carolina tested Austyn Roudebush all evening, putting 63 shots on net compared to just 23 by Mentor. Patrik Polivka made a critical breakaway save on Alexander Morrow five minutes into the third period to keep to game tied, his best of the 21 stops he made in the game.   "He has to prove that he is good goalie," said Niec," he didn't play well in his last few games and we have three goalies battling for the net. He was good tonight."   Remaining tied after chances in the third period and overtime, Carolina won the shootout 2-0. Jan Salak and Brendan Logan scored the goals for Carolina and Polivka were perfect on the four shots he faced.   The Thunderbirds snap a two-game losing skid and improve to 20-3-1-1 on the season with a league-leading 63 points. Mentor falls to 13-12-0-2 but picks up a point to put them at 41.   Carolina and Mentor will play again tomorrow in Winston-Salem at 6:05 p.m.