Columbus Rolls To Big 6-1 Win On Friday Night Over Carolina

Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons started their second straight weekend against Carolina on the right foot Friday night with a 6-1 win over the Thunderbirds.

A back-and-forth first period saw the deadlock broken by the Columbus power play when newly acquired Jake Grade fired a laser from the left point that found a top corner past Chris Paulin to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. Grade's goal was the first power play tally of the season for Columbus.

That score would hold for the opening 20 minutes, but the middle frame saw much more action including an onslaught of goals from Columbus to extend their lead out to 4-0. First, Jagger Williamson potted his first professional goal with a backhand in the slot while Paulin was down and out to make it 2-0. Then, Trevor Finch slipped a backhand through the 5-hole during a 3-on-1 rush to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. After that, Noah Doyle fired a shot from the point that took some odd deflections off both Carolina and Columbus players and ended up with credit being given to Brad Nolan for a 4-0 lead.

Levi Armstrong and Daniel Martin would further amp up the crowd with a hearty fight at center ice that lasted a good minute or so. However, after they returned to the ice from their five minutes, it was Martin who took the initiative and scored a power play goal for Carolina sniping the top right corner near the very end of the 2nd period to give Carolina some hope heading into the 3rd.

In the third, Columbus would continue to lockdown Carolina with solid team defense and allowing Bailey MacBurnie to see the long shots and make easy saves throughout the final 20 minutes. 

Columbus would add on to their lead with a couple of special teams goals starting with Jay Croop tapping in a rebound off of Paulin for the second power play goal of the night. 1:13 later, Dalton Anderson got his first goal of the season shorthanded after an errant pass went back towards the Carolina end and Anderson won a race and pulled a nice toe drag to give himself the space to pick a corner and give the game its final score.

Bailey MacBurnie picks up his first win of the season with a 40 save effort. Chris Paulin takes the loss with a 23 save night.

The same two teams finish another weekend against each other on Saturday night in Winston-Salem with a 6:05 puck drop from the Annex. The Fort Benning Harley-Davidson pregame show starts at 5:35.

Three Stars of the Game

Bailey MacBurnie
Jagger Williamson
Trevor Finch