Fallis, Thunderbirds Bury Wolves Late
By Al Kessler
Winston-Salem, NC - In the third game of the weekend in Winston-Salem, the Thunderbirds and Wolves would skate in a Sunday matinee. Watertown would win the first two games of the series, and tie the season series at 5 games apiece headed into the eleventh and final meeting between the two teams for the regular season. The Wolves 5 game winning streak had them in 2nd place entering action on Sunday, while the Thunderbirds still sit in 4th place.
Starting in net for Watertown it would be Cody Karpinski getting the nod. He sports a 8-3-2 record, alongside a .915 save percentage, and a 3.13 goals-against average. For Carolina it would be Christian Pavlas for the second game in a row, he has a 4.88 goal-against average, and a .880 save percentage.
Carolina would come out firing to start the game and would go on to double up the Wolves in the shot category. At 3:22 of the first it would be Aleh Shypitsyn taking a 2-minute holding minor, and the Wolves would kill off the Carolina penalty. Later on, at 10:11 of the frame it would be Dominik Fejt firing the puck from the blue-line. It would find its way past Cody Karpinski's shoulder to make it 1-0, Carolina; Chase Fallis and Joe Cangelosi would assist on the goal. Just 25 seconds after, however, Troy Polino would deflect the puck in past Christian Pavlas to make it a tie game at 1. The teams would battle to the intermission tied, with Carolina out-shooting the Wolves 14-7.
Watertown would start the second period quickly. Just 17 seconds in John Scully would battle with a pair of Thunderbirds defenders and swat the puck in past Christian Pavlas to make it 2-1 Watertown. Carolina would continue to battle, but a long 5-on-3 penalty would be killed off by the Wolves, shortly followed by a power play of their own when at 8:16 of the period Jay Croop would take a hooking minor penalty. At 12:40 of the frame Chase Fallis would score to make it a tie game once again, for his 2nd point of the game. Joe Cangelosi and Seth Gustin would assist on the goal; it's Cangelosi's 2nd assist of the game and Gustin's 14th of the season on Fallis' 6th goal of the campaign. The Wolves would strike back quickly to retake the lead at 16:03 when Gavin Yates would tap the puck in to give the Wolves a one goal lead, 3-2. With 1:29 left in the second, Cangelosi would break through for his 1st goal as a Thunderbird after being setup in front by Fallis, with Jiri Pestuka getting the secondary assist. Not done, Carolina would continue to attack and after digging the puck out of the near-side corner, Jason Berube would set up Jay Croop cutting towards the net. Croop would back-hand the puck through 2 Wolves defenders to find a diving Artur Drindrozhik for the go-ahead goal. For Drindrozhik, it's his 5th goal in just 6 games for Carolina since being acquired by the Thunderbirds from the Southern Professional Hockey League. Carolina would head into the intermission leading 4-3 and leading in shots 29-22.
The Thunderbirds would carry the momentum into the third period and keep up the offensive pressure. After a Tyler Gjurich tripping minor at 7:25 of the period, the Thunderbirds would strike for their 3rd unanswered goal on the power play. A Ray Boudiette shot from the point would be tipped in by Seth Gustin, making it 5-3, Carolina, with CJ Blaszka getting the secondary assist on the goal. Chase Fallis would continue his stellar game, and at 10:51 of the period, Carolina would once again be on the power play. This time it would be a Jiri Pestuka shot tipped by Fallis to make it 6-3, with Boudiette assisting as well. Carolina would skate to a 6-3 win.
In the win Pavlas would stop 31 of 34, while in the loss Karpinski would stop 33 of 39. With his third period power play goal, Seth Gustin has his 1st professional goal. For the first time on the weekend Wolves forward Tyler Gjurich was held scoreless. Attendance today was 1,414.
Carolina will play another 3 game weekend coming up against the North Shore Knights and the Danville Dashers. Friday, February 23rd and Saturday, February 24th will see North Shore visit the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Friday's game is a 7:35 PM puck drop and is "Kelly Curl Night", presented by Curl Enterprises. The first 600 fans in attendance will receive a replica Kelly Curl goalie mask. On Saturday, it's "Pucks and Paws Night", presented by Oakes Animal Hospital. Fans with dogs are encouraged to bring their furry friend for a fun night of hockey, with the puck drop at 6:05 PM. Sunday the 25th the Thunderbirds will travel to Danville, IL to take on the Dashers. The puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 PM EST, and you can follow all the action on the Thunderbirds Radio Network, on WTOB "The Big 980" in Winston-Salem, 980 AM and 96.3 FM. The game can also be heard on WAME "Real Country" in Statesville, 550 AM and 92.9 FM, and online at www.wameradio.com and www.wtob980.com . For more information about the Thunderbirds please call (336) 774-GOAL(4625) or log on to www.carolinathunderbirds.com.