Thunderbirds Squander Lead, Let in Gjurich Hat Trick
By Al Kessler
Winston-Salem, NC - After a rough loss on Friday night at the hands of the Wolves, the Thunderbirds would skate from the Fairgrounds Annex on "Olympic Night". Watertown has won their last 4 games, while the Thunderbirds sit at 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Starting in net for Watertown it would be Cody Karpinski once again. After the win last night, he now has a 3.06 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Starting for Carolina it would be Christian Pavlas, this season with Carolina and North Shore he has a 4.87 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage.
The Wolves would start the period early once again, just as they did on Friday, peppering the Thunderbirds with shots. Pavlas would turn away most of the shots, but at 6:17 of the period CJ Hayes of the Wolves would break through, beating him on a sharp-angle shot. Shortly afterwards, however, Ray Boudiette of Carolina would break in past the Wolves defense and beat Karpinski to make it a tie game at 1. The Thunderbirds would earn a 5-on-3 power play, but the Wolves would kill it off. Late in the period Tyler Gjurich would find the back of the net for the 4th time in 2 games to make it 2-1 with just 33 seconds remaining in the first. Headed towards the second Watertown would have the shot advantage, 15-13.
In the second period the Thunderbirds would have the quick start, just 42 seconds in Ray Boudiette would fire a puck from below the goal line that Karpinski would be unable to play. The puck would bounce in past the Wolves goalie, with Jiri Pestuka and Steve MacIntyre once again getting credit for the assists and tying the game at 2. After an Aleh Shypitsyn holding minor-penalty, the Thunderbirds would work the puck around on the power play. The good passing would pay off, when Jay Croop would tap the puck home to make it 3-2, Carolina, Jason Berube and Tom Kilgore getting credit for the assists. The Wolves would strike back, however, and at 13:32 of the period Tyler Gjurich would race in on a breakaway after an extended period of Wolves offensive pressure. Kyle Powell would find Gjurich as the Thunderbirds were changing the defensive unit, and Gjurich would make a forehand to backhand move to beat Christian Pavlas and tie the game. Strong play from both sides in the period would keep the teams tied headed into the second intermission. The Wolves would outshoot the Thunderbirds 16-13 in the period, giving them a 31-26 advantage.
Watertown would strike quickly into the third period to break the tie, when after a Christian Pavlas interference penalty, Lester Brown would score on the backhand to make it 4-3, Watertown. Carolina would strike back shortly afterwards, when Jason Berube would wrap the puck in past Cody Karpinski to tie the game once again, this time at 4. The Wolves would have the final answer, however, when Tyler Gjurich would complete the hat trick with just 56 seconds remaining. Anton Lennartsson would add an empty net goal to seal the game, 6-4, Watertown.
In the loss, Christian Pavlas would stop 36 of 42, while Cody Karpinski would stop 32 of 36. Tyler Gjurich's continues his hot streak, as he now has a hat trick in his last 2 games. The win is the Wolves' 5th in a row. Ray Boudiette's 2-goal night is his 1st multi-goal game as a Thunderbird. Attendance tonight was 2,780.
The Thunderbirds weekend series against the Wolves wraps up Sunday, February 18th. Sunday's game is a 4:05 PM puck drop, and it's "Faith Night" with specialty group rates for religious organizations and youth groups. To reserve your groups spot call Kaitlyn Lusk at (336) 774-8882. For more information about the rest of the games this weekend visit www.carolinathunderbirds.com.