October 28, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
The Danville Dashers celebrated their 2017 Commissioner Cup championship win with the hoisting of the cup and the unveiling of the banner before tonight's game commenced.
Once the puck dropped it was all Dashers. The Dashers started the game off right with two goals scored by familiar faces in the opening period. Andrew Harrison and Justin Brausen were the culprits.
The second period was more of the same as the Dashers went on to score four additional goals. Two of which were scored by first star of the game rookie Sean Reynolds, joining him in the scoring attack were Jimmy Soper and Shayne Morrissey.
The third period was threatening to be more of the same when Garret Sargis sent a seventh puck in net to make the score 7-0, but penalties showed to have a big impact on the game. Both teams came away with nine penalties and the Carolina Thunderbirds used one to full advantage in the third period to score their lone goal of the contest when Josh Pietrantonio got one past the Dashers goalie.
The physicality of the game was brought in full force as fisticuffs were thrown in both the first and third periods. The collisions on the boards were fierce and many as the game wore on, never slowing down.
The game was won mainly by defense, as Dashers goalie Greg Hussey went on to have a .971 save percentage which caused a great deal of scoring chances for their offense. Many potential shots were blocked by Dasher defensive players who were swarming the net on both sides. Faceoff wins were also a big story of the game with the Dashers taking away possession with over 50% of them won.
Both teams will take the ice yet again in Danville on Saturday Oct. 28th as the Carolina Thunderbirds look to rebound from this opening loss and Danville trys to keep the Commissioner Cup win momentum going.
Thunderbirds Drop First Game on the Road
Danville, IL - The Thunderbirds dropped their first game of the 2017-2018 regular season to the Defending Champion Danville Dashers. The Dashers unveiled their Commissioner's Cup Banner in emphatic fashion with a 7-1 victory over the Thunderbirds. A rough start to the season for Carolina against a team playing very much in post-season form.
The first period started tentatively, both teams shaking off the rust of the off-season. But quickly the Dashers seized the momentum and wouldn't look back. At 8:35 of the 1st period, Andrew Harrison would score on a net-mouth scramble, beating T-Birds netminder Chris Paulin. Less than a minute later, Justin Brausen would notch his 1st of the season, scoring off a rebound that snuck past Paulin. The frustration for the Thunderbirds would boil over with back to back fighting majors as Jimmy Soper and Daniel Chang traded blows, followed mere seconds later by Bryan Dallaire and Gehrett Sargis.
The second period would be dominated by Danville who blew open their lead, tallying 4 goals. Just 1:35 into the period, Sean Reynolds would score to take the lead to 3-0. Exactly a minute later, while on the power-play after a Stanislav Vlasov penalty, Soper would redirect the puck in front of the net to make it a 4-0 Danville lead. The Thunderbirds had their share of offensive chances, but after a turnover at the blue line while on the powerplay, Shayme Morrissey would come streaking in and score shorthanded, 5-0 Danville. Sean Reynolds would add the 6th at 15:17 of the 2nd period, closing out 6-0 scoring run over 40 minutes of play.
The third period would show much of the same, with the Dashers dominating the possession of the puck. Strong play would draw the Thunderbirds into further penalties, and after a Dominik Synek roughing Minor, Sargis would score after tapping home a rebound past Paulin. The Thunderbirds would show a little life however as Josh Pietrantonio would score on the Power Play to end Greg Hussey's shutout bid, Daniel Chang and Justin Blaszak had the assists.
In the win Hussey stopped 34 of 35 shots, while Pauling turned aside 26 of the 33 shots he faced.
The Thunderbirds return to action tomorrow, October 28, against the Dashers, the puck drops at 8pm EST. The game can be heard on the Thunderbirds Radio Network, WTOB in Winston-Salem and WAME in Statesville.