October 28, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
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.