Watertown, NY – The Thunderbirds rolled into Watertown Municipal Ice Arena with one goal in mind, don’t finish tonight on a 2-game losing streak. With determination and a plethora of shots against known nemesis Jared Rutledge they were able to come away with a 6-2 win on Saturday night and split the weekend set with the Wolves.
Carolina got the scoring started early and often as Peter Cicmanec scored twice in the same shift about five minutes in to the game. The first goal came from a beautiful set up from Jan Salak to find Cicmanec backdoor and give him an easy tap-in goal. Then 20 seconds later Cicmanec walked into the zone and fired one from inside the left circle that beat Rutledge past his quick glove hand and quickly gave Carolina a 2-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds wouldn’t stop there as Michael Bunn was feeling fast and deked around a defender and opened Rutledge’s 5-hole to slide in a third goal. All three Carolina goals in the first period came in a 1:14 span.
Watertown would answer two minutes after the Bunn goal with Tim Santopaolo collecting his second goal on the weekend in similar fashion to his first. After a good save by Christian Pavlas, Santopaolo followed his own rebound and slid it in before Pavlas could react and Watertown had one back heading into the locker room for the first intermission.
The Wolves came out flying to begin the second period and just over 30 seconds in to the second period made it a one-goal game courtesy of Anton Kalinin. Kalinin now has three goals in his last three games played against the Thunderbirds.
The 3-2 score would remain for a while and kept the crowd energized throughout most of the second and while Watertown peppered Pavlas with plenty of shots it was Carolina’s Jiri Pestuka who found the net going top shelf from close range.
With a 4-2 lead heading into the third Carolina kept their foot on the gas with two more goals to give the game its final score.
First Viktor Grebennikov potted in a rebound from a slot scramble in front of Rutledge. Then in similar rebound fashion Michael Bunn potted in his second of the night and his 40th of his Thunderbirds career to lead the franchise all-time.
Christian Pavlas got the win stopping 34 of 36 shots in the game. Jared Rutledge takes the loss, he stopped 58 of 64 shots Carolina took.
The Thunderbirds now head to Elmira to take on the Enforcers in another one of their “guarantee” games on Sunday afternoon. Carolina’s magic number to clinch the FHL’s #1 seed is now at 13 points, with a chance to lower it another 6 in that game.
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