COLUMBUS, GA - Alexander Jmaeff recorded a hat trick and Josh Pietrantonio added a pair of goals to power the Columbus River Dragons to a 5-3 win over the Carolina Thunderbirds on Friday night. Jmaeff scored just 16 seconds into the first period to get the offense rolling for Columbus, tipping a Nathan Balkwill point shot past Frankie McClendon to make it 1-0. Pietrantonio would follow with a power play goal, and then Jmaeff netted his second of the night on the power play for a 3-1 advantage after 20 minutes. The two teams traded goals in the second as Jmaeff completed the hat trick at 12:09, restoring the River Dragons' two-goal lead after Jiri Pestuka pulled Carolina within a goal. In the third, Carolina would go on the power play with five minutes left in regulation and pull McClendon for a 6-on-4 advantage. The gamble paid off as Dawson Baker scored with 4:29 remaining to make it a 4-3 game. With time winding down, the Thunderbirds would once again pull the goaltender, but this time Pietrantonio scored into the empty net to cement the 5-3 victory. Talor Joseph made 23 saves to improve to 6-0-0-1 on the season and notch his fourth straight victory. The same two teams rematch tomorrow night at 6:05 pm ET. The AirForce Heating and Air Pregame Show kicks off at 5:30 on 106.9 Really Rocks and the River Dragons YouTube channel at youtube.com/@ColumbusRiverDragons. TV coverage will be provided by Christian Television Network, CTN-16.