Thunderbirds win against #2 Cornwall in Sunday Contest
How It Happened
After splitting the first two games of the weekend the Nationals and Thunderbirds would skate for a 3rd time at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. It would be game number 6 between the two squads for the season series, with Cornwall holding a 3-2 advantage. The Nationals enter action in 2nd place in the FHL standings, while the Thunderbirds sit in 5th place, out of a playoff spot.
In net for Cornwall it would once again be Sebastian Dube-Rochon, after the win last night, he improves to 13-10-3 with a 3.79 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. Opposite him it would be Christian Pavlas starting for Carolina, sporting a 5-12 record with a 4.98 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage.
Like the 1st period on Saturday night, the Thunderbirds offense would come out firing, however the Nationals would also have their fair share of offensive pressure. The teams would combine for 38 shots in the period. Carolina would open the scoring at 6:10 of the frame when Jason Berube would rush in from the neutral ice and slot the puck in past Rochon to make it 1-0 Carolina. Artur Drindrozhik and Seth Gustin would assist on the goal. For Gustin, still looking for his 1st goal of the season, it is his 12th assist of the year. For Drindrozhik it is his 4th point in just his 3rd game for Carolina, his 2nd assist. Carolina would strike again later, when at 10:55 of the period captain Josh Pietrantonio would feed Jiri Pestuka behind the Cornwall net. Pestuka would find Ray Boudiette all alone on the doorstep where Rochon could not get across quickly enough, 2-0 Carolina. The goal is Boudiette’s 5th of the season, with Pestuka and Pietrantonio earning their 18th and 32nd assists respectively. The teams would skate 2-0 into the locker rooms, with Carolina leading 21-17 on shots.
Following the script, it would be Cornwall storming back in the 2nd period, just as they did on Saturday night. Early in the frame it would be Gabriel Levesque tapping the puck in past Pavlas at 6:00 of the period. Pavlas would over-commit on a save attempt on Nikilos Langley-Rogers, and the rebound off the end boards would roll right to the stick of Levesque, who would cut the Carolina lead in half. Levesque’s goal is his 1st as a National, and 1st point, Langley-Rogers earns his 3rd assist of the season. Exactly 2:30 later it would be Langley-Rogers finding the back of the net himself, tying the game at 2 at 8:30 of the 2nd. Justin Portillo would get his 5th assist of the season, along with Yan Dumontier getting his 8th of the campaign on Langley-Rogers 1st goal of the season. The Nationals would kill off a Kyran Karol interference penalty at 10:35 of the 2nd, and then would get a chance of their own late. At 18:10 Jason Berube would take a holding minor, shortly followed by Christian Pavlas sending the puck out of play and taking a delay of game minor penalty. Headed into the 3rd period the Thunderbirds would be short-handed for 2 seconds 5-on-3 to start the 3rd period. Shots after the period would be 43-30 in favor of Carolina.
The 3rd period would start quickly for Carolina, who would kill off both penalties. After the penalty-kill, Chase Fallis would steal the puck away from Cornwall, and fire the shot, bar-down, past Rochon to make it 3-2 Carolina at 3:41 of the period. Cornwall would respond quickly however, at 5:39 Maxime Guyon would score to make it a tie game once again. The action would continue end-to-end, but at 12:36 of the period Michael Bunn would steal the puck away in his defensive zone and come racing in one-on-one. His shot would fly over the glove and shoulder of Rochon to make it 4-3 Carolina. The goal is Bunn’s 21st of the season, and Dominik Fejt would add his 4th assist of the season. Carolina would weather the storm of Cornwall as they would pull Dube-Rochon late for the extra skater, but the Thunderbirds would hold on for the 4-3 win.
In the loss Dube-Rochon would stop 52 of 56, while Pavlas would shut down 37 of 40 in the win.
Michael Bunn’s 3rd period goal is his 21st of the season, and his 4th gme-winning goal, which ties him with Jiri Pestuka for 2nd most in the Federal Hockey League.
Josh Pietrantonio’s 1st period assist is his team-leading 32nd of the season.