Carolina Rides Strong First Period to beat Motor City

After losing to Motor City last night, the Carolina Thunderbirds were looking to take away three points back to the east coast. The Thunderbirds were able to get back into the win column with a 5-2 win over the Rockers at Big Boy Arena on Saturday night. Just like on Friday, Carolina (11-6-1) jumped out on the Motor City early and never looked back thanks to three goals in the third period. 

Motor City tried clearing the puck in out of the d-zone but Gus Ford charged the blue line and fired a hard shot toward the net. Josh Koepplinger was able to deflect it into the goal for the first goal of the game with 17:35 left to play in the first. Seven minutes later Koepplinger struck again for his second goal of the game.

After Lucas Rowe moved the puck from the nearside corner, the man from Saginaw kept the puck into the zone. Koepplinger dangled around a defender and into the slot and fired in the puck for a 2-0 lead with 10:36 to play in the first period. 

Koepplinger kept the offense going later in the first as he settled the puck down in the neutral zone and offered a quick pass to a charging Blake Peavy. As he entered the zone he offered a quick one-timer to Lucas Rowe who buried it for his 13th of the season and 3-0 lead.

The second period belonged to the Rockers (13-6-3) as its offense began to hit its stride. 

Roman Gaudet moved the puck inside the offensive zone after he received a pass from Dylan Johnson. Gaudet offered a centering pass to Derek Makimma who was able to bury the puck to cut into the Thunderbird lead 3-1 1:24 into the 2nd. 

Johnson kept his point streak alive at seven games with his assist. 

Six minutes later and unlikely hero Jonathan Juliano was falling to the ice. As he lost his balance, Juliano was able to get his stick on the puck and lift it past Cavaliere for his fourth of the season to make it 3-2.

Carolina’s defense shut down the Rockers offense the rest of the way, including earning seven penalty kills on the night after surrendering two power play goals on Friday night. The third period belonged to the Thunderbirds, just like the first period. Peavy was able to earn a power play goal after he wristed the puck to the farside of the net completing a quick pass from Buttitta for his third power play goal of the season. The Thunderbirds were able to earn an empty net goal by Ford with 1:37 to play in the third to cap the scoring at 5-2. 

Motor City will play a home and home against Port Huron after the Christmas Break on Dec 30th at McMorran Ice Arena and on the 31st at Big Boy Arena.