Carolina Completes Weekend Sweep On Saturday

Columbus, GA - The Carolina Thunderbirds completed a two-game weekend sweep of the River Dragons on Saturday, winning by a score of 5-2.

Columbus got on the board first as Vojtech Zemlicka netted his first as a River Dragon 1:12 into the first period taking a loose puck from behind the net and coming out in front to fire home past Chris Paulin.

Carolina would battle back and take the lead back with goals from Fred Hein (7:34) and Tommy Tsicos (15:03) the latter of which came on a nice deflection from a Josh Koepplinger shot.

Columbus would respond quickly though. 2:08 later Ivan Bondarenko got one past Paulin on the far post and the game was tied right back in the later stages. However, Carolina would hold the lead into the locker room when Zach White found twine 1:26 after Bondarenko did to make it 3-2 Carolina through 20.

The second period was a stalemate on the scoreboard but it took a monumental effort from Jared Rutledge and the Columbus defense to keep it that way. Carolina at one point quintupled Columbus' shots 30-6 during the game, but the River Dragons defense kept Carolina at bay and kept the game 3-2 heading into the 3rd.

With a long amount of time between goals, it became clear on the ice the next goal was going to carry a lot of momentum for the team that scored it, and unfortunately for the home fans it was Carolina tallying a power play goal on a tic-ta-toe pass that David Brancik scored from in close. A late goal on a 2-on-1 from Jan Salak finished the scoring and Carolina leaves Columbus six points heavier on the weekend.

Chris Paulin gets his second win of the season, stopping 26 of 28 shots he faced. Jared Rutledge takes the loss with a 47 save effort on 52 shots.

The River Dragons now look forward to a 3-game set with the Port Huron Prowlers Thursday-Saturday at the Civic Center. Tickets available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster.

Three Stars of the Game

Fred Hein
Zach White
Vojtech Zemlicka