October 29, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
CAROLINA THUNDERBIRDS at DANVILLE DASHERS
Dashers Split Series with Carolina
by Aaron Martin
Game 2 of a two game series couldn't have been more different yet strikingly familiar.
The three keys to the game were the same: Goalie, Defense, and faceoff wins. However, this time the script was flipped.
The first period saw Carolina assert themselves fully on the faceoffs. This allowed them to go on the offensive attack early and often. They out shot the Dashers 17 - 9 in the first and it snowballed from there.
Jay Croop got the scoring started at 19:40 in the first with a goal that just eeked by Greg Hussey putting the Thunderbirds up 1-0. This score would continue into the second until a shorthanded break away goal came from the Dashers Shayne Morrissey. The game would stay knotted up for the remainder of the period with both teams jockeying for position and puck control in a physical affair.
The third period was a showcase of defense from both teams until Jay Croop would yet again come up big for the Thunderbirds. This lead left the cushion that the Thunderbirds needed to relax and begin to play a slow methodical game relying on their swarming defense much like the Dashers had done the previous night.
The dagger in the third period would come from Yuto Asawa, sending the puck into the right side of the net, just passed the goalie. Leaving the Dashers with little time to be able to right the ship, Carolina used their strong defensive play to seal the game and their first victory of the season.
Both teams now move on to their next challenges with records of 1-1.
THUNDERBIRDS WIN FIRST OF THE SEASON, TOP DANVILLE 3-1
By Al Kessler
Danville, IL - After a rough loss at the hands of the Danville Dashers the night previous, the Thunderbirds entered Saturday Night's action trying to salvage some points out of the weekend. It would be a rapid-fire and back and forth game, that would eventually see the Thunderbirds come out on top by a score of 3-1 over the defending champion Dashers.
The 1st period would open with an offensive flurry from Carolina, who attacked the net of Greg Hussey and the Dashers. The Thunderbirds would throw 17 shots on net during the opening frame, but only late would they break through. After a tripping call against Ben Boukal of the Dashers, the Thunderbirds went on a power play, but were unable to convert despite good chances. 10 seconds after the penalty had expired however the Thunderbirds would strike, Jay Croop would find the back of the net at 19:40 of the first to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead. The goal was assisted by Rick O'Connor and Stanislav Vlasov.
The 2nd period would see a much more frantic pace of play as the Dashers would come out surging. Back and forth hockey became rougher and eventually Boukal was booked for his 2nd offense, this time boarding. However during the ensuing Thunderbirds power play, an almost identical scene unfolded when Shayne Morrissey stole the puck in neutral ice and came in all alone on a break-away. Morrissey would beat Chris Paulin and tie the game up at 1, unassisted. Carolina would then have to kill off the first Dasher man advantage of the game when Tom Kilgore was sent to the box for tripping.
In the 3rd period the Thunderbirds would again come out firing, and the back and forth pace continued. Danville seemed to be gaining momentum, but a very sharp angle shot taken by Croop from the near dasher boards snuck in past Hussey to give the Thunderbirds the lead at 5:19 of the 3rd. Carolina would add another at 14:29 when Yuto Osawa picked up a rebound and fired it past Hussey to make it 3-1. Paulin and the Thunderbirds would weather a storm of Dasher scoring chances and hold on to win it.
In the winning effort, Paulin made 33 saves on 34 shots, while Hussey had 39 saves on 42 Carolina shots.
The Thunderbirds next game is the home opening weekend, Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Friday's game begins at 7:35 pm EST and Saturday's puck drop is at 6:05 pm EST.