The Carolina Thunderbirds didn’t disappoint in their opening playoff game on Friday night, on the road against the Port Huron Prowlers.
The Thunderbirds, the top seed and regular-season champions in the Federal Hockey League, beat the Prowlers 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series.
Game 2 is set for tonight at 7 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. The Thunderbirds would wrap up the series with a win. If a third game is necessary, it would be Sunday at the Annex at 4 p.m.
Not even a 3-2 deficit in the second period bothered the Thunderbirds, who set the FHL record for wins in the regular-season with 48.
Trailing 3-2, Petr Panacek scored on an unassisted goal to tie the game midway through the second period. Three minutes later, Jay Croop scored with assists going to Michael Bunn and Mike Baker for a 4-3 lead.
Josh Pietrantonio added an insurance goal six minutes into the third period with assists going to Taylor Love and Ray Boudiette. The Prowlers scored with 16 seconds left in the game to make it 5-4.
Also scoring goals for the Thunderbirds were Bunn and Jiri Pargac.
Goalie Christian Pavlas made 23 saves for the Thunderbirds.