October 29, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
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.