Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds took their winning ways on the road and came away with a 6-3 victory over the Mentor Ice Breakers for their 20th consecutive win.
The Thunderbirds got on the board first when Jiri Pargac was in the right place at the right time knocking in a centered pass that went off the skate of at least one player in the slot and pinballed around putting Derek Moser out of palce to make the save. Minutes later it was Chase Fallis nine seconds into a power play deflecting a Karel Drahorad shot past Moser to double the Thunderbirds lead.
Mentor would strike back later in the frame with Nathan Farrington wristing one past Carolina goalie Frankie McClendon’s glove hand. The play was set up by a very close blue line play that was ruled to be onside.
Carolina would restore their two goal lead and then some with defensemen Stan Vlasov and Karel Drahorad each scoring goals 53 seconds apart and before you knew it Carolina was up 4-1.
The period wouldn’t end there as on the power play Mentor struck back with 10 seconds left in the period Steven Fowler scored from a pretty passing play behind the Carolina net to make the game 4-2.
After 20 minutes of play we had six goals in the game and 40 penalty minutes thanks to a couple fights from Joe Swenson v Joe Cangelosi and Dominik Fejt v Thomas Devesvre.
After that hectic first period the game settled down a bit with only one goal coming in the second period, it belonged to Cangelosi after he deflected a Mike Baker shot through the five-hole of Moser and gave Carolina another three-goal lead.
Also happening in the second period Dominik Fejt was assessed a game misconduct for a head check. An Ice Breaker was given a double minor four roughing on the same play, and thanks to penalties picked up in the 4-on-4 Mentor had only five seconds of major power play advantage stemming from the Fejt hit.
In the third Mentor would make a game out of it when Gordy Bonnel set up Patrick Porkka on a pretty timing route that saw Porkka deflect the puck past McClendon who had virtually no chance at stopping it.
With tensions rising in the Mentor Civic Ice Arena one last fight showed up on the card and compared to all the other ones in the game it was most certainly the main event. After receiving a slightly late hit in the neutral zone Seth Gustin had enough of Ivan Vilcauskas’ antics and the two dropped the gloves and went shot for shot at one another. After the fight was over Nathan Farrington was assessed a 10-minute misconduct effectively ending his night.
With the game sitting at 5-3 Mentor got more and more aggressive, pulling their goalie with close to three minutes left in the game while on the power play for a 6-on-4 skater advantage. The risk would backfire though when Michael Bunn sealed the game with an empty netter (that also goes down as shorthanded) to give the game its final scoreline of 6-3.
Frankie McClendon moved his record to 6-0 with 21 saves on 24 shots on Sunday afternoon. Derek Moser stopped 36 of 42 shots in the loss.
Carolina now owns a 20-game winning streak and will look for some history next weekend against the Danville Dashers. With a two-game set Friday and Saturday on the horizon, Carolina can tie and break the FHL’s all-time winning streak record of 21 with victories over the Dashers next weekend at the David S Palmer Arena.
Three Stars of the Game
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 66,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).