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T-Birds Update: Carolina Thunderbirds hockey team splits season-opening series in New York

T-Birds Update: Carolina Thunderbirds hockey team splits season-opening series in New York

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The Carolina Thunderbirds opened their hockey season last week with a split against Elmira.

They took the 15-hour bus ride to upstate New York and dropped the opening game 4-3 in an overtime shootout. The Thunderbirds rebounded in the next game to win 4-3 in overtime.

What they’re saying

“We gutted that out. The boys played hard and I’m happy for them.” – Coach Andre Niec on the second game.

Stars

Forward Josh Koepplinger: Two goals, three assists in two games.

Forward Jon Buttitta: One goal, two assists in two games.

Forward Petr Panacek: Three assists in two games.

Key stat

Goalies Nicholas Modica and Zachary Quinn, playing in one game each, have each given up three goals. Modica faced 45 shots in his game, and Quinn faced 43 shots in the opener.

Next series

Three games in Columbus (Ga.) on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. All games will be broadcast live on WTOB (980 AM, 96.3 FM) and on the team’s YouTube channel. The Thunderbirds are playing 20 road games this season in the Federal Prospects Hockey League.

Extra credit

According to Drew Blevins, the play-by-play voice of the Thunderbirds and the director of media relations, nearly 2,600 tuned in to watch the Thunderbirds’ opening game against Elmira on March 3 on the team’s YouTube channel. “It’s an unreal experience,” Blevins said. “This fan base is special to follow us like that.”

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