December 26, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
Pestuka's Late Goal Lifts Thunderbirds Again; 4-2 Carolina
How It Happened
After suffering their first home loss of the season the Thunderbirds would skate Saturday night against the North Shore Knights in the 4th meeting of the two teams this season. The Thunderbirds hold a 2-1 record against North Shore so far. In last night's 4-2 win, Knights goaltender Christian Pavlas was brilliant, and the offense was effective against a Thunderbirds squad featuring many new faces. Adam Zeman would get the nod for North Shore in between the pipes, entering action with an 0-7 record, a 7.28 goals against average and a .855 save percentage. Kelly Curl would get the start in net again for Carolina, holding a 3-1 record with a 3.04 goals against average and a .304 save percentage.
Looking to avenge their loss last night the Thunderbirds would come out firing in the 1st period, out-shooting the Knights 16-6. It would be T-Birds newcomer Chase Fallis who would break the ice, scoring at 3:07 of the 1st period, after being set up in front of the net by Tom Kilgore. Josh Pietrantonio would be awarded the secondary assist. The Thunderbirds would continue to apply offensive pressure, in addition to killing off a Jiri Pestuka slashing penalty at 11:46 of the period. The Knights would strike back however, Marek Malinsky would come down the far side wing and fire a shot over the net. The puck would hit the glass and hop back in front of Curl's net where Radoslav Konecny would tap it in for the score to make it 1-1. Koenecny would take a hooking penalty at 19:07 of the period, and just seconds later CJ Blaszka would blast the puck on net where it would trickle past Zeman and into the net, Michael Bunn and Stanislav Vlasov would get the assists on the power-play goal. The two teams would skate into the intermission with the score 2-1 Carolina.
The two teams would skate back and forth in a choppy period with many breaks in the action. Once again, the Thunderbirds would out-shoot North Shore, 13-5 in the 2nd frame. Neither team would find the back of the net, despite each team having a power-play chance. At 7 minutes of the period Pestuka would take an interference minor penalty, but the Thunderbirds would kill off the resulting Knights power-play. Carolina would get their chance just over 3 minutes later when Josh Newberg would take a tripping minor. The Thunderbirds would be unable to score on the man-advantage, and the closest they would come was just after the penalty expired when Bunn would feed a pass to Fallis that would beat Zeman but ring off the iron and stay out. At the 2nd intermission the score would still stand at 2-1 Carolina.
Matyas Kasek of the Knights would open up the 3rd period dramatically, scoring just 3:04 into the period, Dominik Fejt and Patrick Porkka would get the assists. The Thunderbirds would respond 5:40 afterwards when Jiri Pestuka tapped the puck home to put the Thunderbirds ahead. A slew of penalties would end the 3rd period with the teams trading power-play chances in the last 5 minutes, but no-one could break through, and the game would end 3-2 Carolina.
In the loss Zeman would stop 44 of 47, while Curl earned his 4th win of the season stopping 20 of 22.
With his goal in the 1st period, Chase Fallis has his first point as a Thunderbird in just his 2nd game with the team.
Pestuka's goal in the 3rd period is his 4th game-winner of the season, which ties him for the league lead.
Back in Action
Carolina will travel to Danville to play the Dashers on Thursday, December 28th, puck drop is at 8:00 pm EST, with the pregame show starting at 7:35 pm on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. Afterwards the Thunderbirds will return home for a three-game set against the Cornwall Nationals. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, December 29, 30, and 31. Friday's game is a 7:35 pm puck drop at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds and Annex, and it's "Frosty Friday", all pepsi products and domestic beer will be $2. Saturday's game is Star Wars Night, and the puck will drop at 6:05 pm. Sunday's New Years' Eve game will begin at 8:35 pm, with festivities to follow the game. For tickets and more information please visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).
PORT HURON PROWLERS at CORNWALL NATIONALS
Nationals Fall to Prowlers for First Regulation Loss on Home Ice
CORNWALL - The first-place Nationals were in a giving mood on Saturday night. Cornwall fell 2-1 to the Port Huron Prowlers in Federal Hockey League action at the Civic Complex.
The Nationals (9-3-0-2) were dealt their first regulation loss of the season on home ice in front of 602 fans.
Cory Simons came out on top in a rare FHL goaltending battle, turning aside 37 shots to earn the victory in goal for the Prowlers. Cornwall outshot Port Huron 38-36.
Dalton Jay opened the scoring for Port Huron as he banged in a rebound to beat Sebastien Dube-Rochon with 4:06 to play in the first period.
Moments after Cornwall's Eric Witzel was sent to the penalty box for high sticking, Auston Daae tipped a shot past Dube-Rochon for a powerplay marker to give the Prowlers at 2-0 lead at 7:27 of the middle frame.
The Nationals came out strong in the third period as captain Ahmed Mahfouz buried a perfect feed from Maxime Guyon 2:50 into the period. But it was all the offence Cornwall could create on the evening.
Simons (first), Dube-Rochon (second) and Daae were the announced stars.
NEXT WEEKEND : The Nationals are back in action on Boxing Day when they visit the Watertown Wolves. Cornwall is back on home ice on Sunday, Jan. 7 when the North Shore Knights visit the Civic Complex. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
DANVILLE DASHERS at WATERTOWN WOLVES
Gjurich's Overtime Goal Snaps Wolves' Losing Streak
The Watertown Wolves took on the Danville Dashers at the Watertown Municipal Arena Saturday night. This was the first match up between Head Coach Trevor Karsawiecz's team and the defending Federal Hockey League champions for the 2017-2018 season. The Dashers' visit brought former Watertown Wolves Head Coach Brent Clarke back to the town where he won the Federal Hockey League championship in the 2014-2015 season.
The lone goal of the first period came from Jason Berube when he went top shelf on Danville net minder Aaron Taylor to make the score 1-0 for the Wolves.
Justin Brausen scored a hat trick in the second period with two of them on power plays. Watertown closed the gap in the final seconds of the period when Dustin Jesseau went five-hole to end the period with a 2-3 score in favor of Danville.
The Wolves tied the game up in the third period with a goal from Cameron Dimmitt. The goalies held the fort down and sent the game into overtime.
League-leading scoring Tyler Gjurich snapped the Wolves losing streak with a winning goal at 2:50 on assists from Dallas Ingram and Nate O'Brien making the final
Tyler Gjurich's game-winning goal earned him first star of the game. Justin Brausen's hat trick earned him the second star. The third star of the game went to Jason Berube for scoring one goal and assisting on another.
The Watertown Wolves are back in action on Tuesday, December 26th for Super Hero Day against the Cornwall Nationals at the Watertown Municipal Arena at 7:30 pm.