COLUMBUS, GA - Jiri Pestuka scored at 15:04 of overtime to give the Carolina Thunderbirds a critical road victory and extend the Continental Division Final to a deciding Game Three on Sunday in Columbus at 6:05 pm.

Pestuka tipped home a centering feed from Nate Keeley just minutes after Mario Cavaliere made a diving glove stop on the goal line to extend the OT and keep Carolina alive. The goal was his first of the playoffs.

Gus Ford opened the scoring with a power play goal late in the first period to make it 1-0 Thunderbirds.

Despite being shorthanded five times in the second period, Columbus did not allow a goal against and the game remained 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.

In the third, the River Dragons finally found the scoresheet when Austin Daae’s point shot deflected into the net off the skate of Alex Storjohann for a power play goal at 3:18. Josh Pietrantonio followed with his first goal of the playoffs at 6:52 to put Columbus in front for the first time in the game.

Down the stretch the Thunderbirds would pull Cavaliere for the extra attacker, and Dawson Baker got loose in the slot, converting a feed from Ford to tie the game and send it past regulation.

Breandan Colgan made 37 saves in the loss for Columbus.


  • These two teams are no stranger to overtime games, with five of the ten regular season contests needing OT or a shootout to settle.

  • Columbus scored a power play goal for the fourth straight game.

  • The River Dragons were shorthanded six consecutive times during the game, including five penalties against in the second period. Columbus would kill all five off to keep the game 1-0 at the time.

  • Daae, Storjohann, Pietrantonio and Justin MacDonald all have four-game scoring streaks in progress.

The series-deciding Game Three will be played at 6:05 pm ET at the Columbus Civic Center. Tickets are on sale right now through the Civic Center Box Office and online at