Enforcers Comeback Falls Short 6-4

by Jon Kliment

The Enforcers made their way down to North Carolina on Friday night to take on the Thunderbirds at Winston Salem Fairgrounds. Carolina comes into the matchup undefeated and on top of the FHL standings with a 2-0 record. Elmira enters play looking for their first win after dropping their first two games of the season. 

As soon as the puck dropped, it was all about the Carolina Thunderbirds. Carolina did not waste any time as they found the back of the net within two minutes. Czech native, Karel Drahorad, blasted one home from the point after some smooth D-to-D passing with C.J. Blaska. That marked Drahorad’s 3rdgoal in 3 games. Drahorad continued his hot start as he set up the next goal for the Thunderbirds as well. Drahorad curled in the corner and found Jan Salak in the high slot. Salak buried the wrister to quickly put Carolina up 2-0. Salak and the Thunderbirds were still not finished pouring it on in the 1stperiod. Once again, Salak stayed home in the high slot where he was fed by Josh Pietrantonio after intercepting a pass in the corner. Carolina jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, and the Enforcers were desperate for a response. Fortunately, Elmira was able to respond before the period came to a conclusion. Dmytro Babenko was able to bang one home off the right pad of the Carolina netminder from close in front. This was a great answer from Elmira as they headed to the locker room down by two goals. 

Whatever was said in Elmira’s locker room during the 1stintermission; it worked. The Enforcers came out like fire on ice as it only took them 42 seconds to find the back of the net. Parker Moscal was able to leak one by Carolina’s netminder, Kelly Curl, with the help from his teammates, Brandon Vuic and Sean Reynolds. Just 50 seconds later, Elmira was able to proficiently capitalize on another opportunity. David DiSchiavi tallied his first goal of the season off the assist from Cameron Yarwood to knot the score at 3-3. Carolina was able to fire a jab back at Elmira as they quickly responded to the Elmira offense just 57 seconds later. Dominik Fejt decided to take matters into his own hands as he ripped an unassisted slap shot from the right point past the blocker of Troy Passingham. The second period got off to a hot start and it continued that way until the sound of the horn. The Carolina crowd was entertained by three separate fights. For the Enforcers, Dmytro Babenko and Darren Lamble dropped the gloves, with Lamble participating in two of the scraps. For the Thunderbirds, Stanislav Vlasov and Chase Fallis dropped the gloves, with Vlasov participating in two scraps as well. 

Just when it looked like this game was starting to settle down, more action arose. Carolina received some major offensive help from their defenseman tonight as their blue liners muscled home four goals on the night. Taylor Love fired a one-timer into the back of the net off the feed from J.T. Walters on the Power Play. Elmira’s Sean Reynolds was able to make the game interesting when he wristed one by Kelly Curl to make it a one goal game with 6:45 remaining in the game. However, the Karel Drahorad show continued. Jiri Pargac put the puck on a tee for Drahorad as he walked in from the point and drove one by Passingham’s glove on the 5-on-3 man advantage to put the icing on the cake. 

The Carolina Thunderbirds were able to come out as a 6-4 winner against the Elmira Enforcers in an extremely hard fought and highly intense game. The Thunderbirds remain undefeated and move to 3-0 on the season. The Elmira Enforcers remain defeated and moved to 0-3 on the season. These two teams will go back at it tomorrow night in what is anticipated to be another barn burner and action-packed event.    

~Contributed by Brooks Vertoske