River Dragons Defeat Carolina in a Shootout Friday Night
Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons rallied late to pull two points out of three in a shootout win over the Carolina Thunderbirds.
Columbus struck first in the game when Chase Fallis caught a pass from Yianni Liarakos in some space down the left wing side. His shot sailed over the right shoulder of Nick Modica and found twine for the 1-0 lead.
Later on in the period though Columbus would answer with a power play tally from Daniel Klinecky that went through Jared Rutledge due to some contact on the Columbus netminder. The referees congregated but did not rule interference and the goal stood to tie the game at one.
The second period was all Carolina but stopping them at every turn was Rutledge making great saves and looking calm and collected throughout. A scoreless second period would set up for a dramatic third.
Early in the third period Carolina took advantage of some space given to them by the Dragons and Petr Panacek put the puck on a tee for Jan Salak to snap home in the top-right corner. Less than three minutes into the third and Carolina had the lead for the first time in the night.
Carolina's lead would hold for a long time but not long enough to secure the regulation win. With Rutledge on the bench and a six-on-five advantage for Columbus, Chase Fallis won a faceoff clean and a D-to-D pass saw Aleh Shypitsyn bear down at the left circle and fire a shot that went off a stick in front, popped up into the air and nestled into the net for the tying goal with 40 seconds left.
In overtime both teams played a posturing possession style game. Each goalie made a few saves and the skills contest was up next.
It took three rounds to get the first goal in the shootout and it came in the top half when Ivan Bondarenko successfully completed the Forsberg move on Modica to make it 1-0. Jay Croop rang iron in the top of the 4th that would have given Columbus a stranglehold on the game, instead Jon Buttitta goes 5-hole for a goal and it was 1-1 heading into the fifth inning. Cameron Dimmitt stepped up and went blocker side on Modica for the goal. In response, former River Dragon Chad Herron came in with speed and also went blocker side but Rutledge was able to knock it away and secure the win and two points for Columbus.
The River Dragons and Thunderbirds are back at it tonight in the Columbus Civic Center for a 6:05 puck drop on Throwback night with the Dragons dressed in specialty Cottonmouth-inspired throwback jerseys. The Columbus Cottonmouths Legends game will happen at 4 P.M. in the leadup to the game. Both games can be seen on the River Dragons YouTube channel, and the 6:05 game will be carried on YouTube and the radio network.
Three Stars of the Game
Daniel Klinecky (CAR)
Nicholas Modica (CAR)