EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The Thunderbolts' offense came alive last weekend, scoring 12 goals in two games, including five on the power play alone, as they dominated the last-place Marksmen. With both wins in hand and six out of six points secured from the past two weeks on the road, the Bolts return to Ford Center ice for important games against the Bulls and RiverKings as the march to the playoffs continues.
Week In Review:
On Saturday, the offense would be led by Nick Lazorko, who scored twice on the night. Ryan de Melo would be solid in net as he stopped 32 of 35 shots. The Bolts also got goals from Mike Fazio, Mark Petaccio, Carter Shinkaruk and Nick D'Avolio. Shayne Morrissey would pick up three assists on the night. Things got rough at times, however. In the second period, a major scrum ensued when Dylan Clarke was ran into the boards from behind by Kirill Chaika, and then an even bigger one occured after Ludlow Harris slashed the arm of de Melo after he had made a save. This caused Brendan Mitchell to take a major penalty for checking Harris towards the boards in reaction and de Melo himself to get involved, causing Fayetteville goalie Patrick Spano to come down ice to get involved. The Bolts would win on Saturday by a 6-3 score. Sunday afternoon would see a much more dominant 6-1 victory for Evansville, as Shinkaruk scored twice, Cory Melkert, Chase Nieuwendyk, Lazorko and Shayne Morrissey would score a goal each and Mike Fazio finished with three assists. De Melo had a busy afternoon, not only by stopping 35 of 36 shots, but by facing more physical abuse. At the conclusion, Brad Drobot came out onto the ice, challenging Melkert and finally settling on jumping de Melo. However the Bolts were ready for his antics and stood up for their goaltender and sent Drobot and his Fayetteville teammates to the showers with zero points out of the weekend.
The Weekend Ahead:
The Thunderbolts take on the red-hot Birmingham Bulls on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. CST. Friday night is Dylan Clarke Bobblehead Night and the first 500 fans in the building receive a free collectible Dylan Clarke bobblehead. On Saturday night, the Thunderbolts host the Mississippi RiverKings, also at 7:15 p.m. CST. Saturday night's game will be sponsored by the Hoosier Lottery. The first 1,000 adult fans in the building on Saturday receive a free Hoosier Lottery ticket, and for the kids, there will be face painting available. Also, every fan that comes to the game will receive raffle tickets to enter for prizes such as concert tickets and gift cards.
Scouting the Opponent:
· Birmingham Bulls
o Record: 20-22-5, 45 Points, 9th Place
o Thunderbolts 17-18 Record vs. Bulls: 5-2-0
o Leading Goal Scorer: Josh Harris (22 Goals)
o Leading Point Scorer: Harris/Jacob Barber (42 Points)
o Primary Goaltender: Charlie Millen (12-6-1, 3.34 GAA, .905 Save %)
The Bulls carry a four game win streak into the upcoming weekend, after two consecutive upsets over the Pensacola Ice Flyers, in Pensacola. Justin Larson, Shane Topf, Craig Simchuk, Evan Schultz, Myles McCauley and Harris all scored goals, and Millen stopped 33 of 36 shots for a 6-3 victory on Friday night. On Saturday, the Bulls would come back from being down 2-1 in the third period to win in overtime, 3-2. Simchuk scored the first goal and the overtime winning goal for the Bulls, and Mike Davis would score the tying goal as Millen made 33 saves once again.
· Mississippi RiverKings
o Record: 23-22-2, 48 Points, 7th Place
o Thunderbolts 17-18 Record vs. RiverKings: 2-2-1
o Leading Goal Scorer: Devin Mantha (20 Goals)
o Leading Point Scorer: Devin Mantha (49 Points)
o Primary Goaltender: Tyler Green (16-15-2, 3.03 GAA, .899 Save %)
Mississippi had two games in Peoria this past weekend, on Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday, The RiverKings would rally in the first period after two quick Peoria goals, by scoring two quick goals themselves from Shane Bennett and Devin Mantha. However, the Rivermen would pull ahead in the second period, and score an empty netter at the end to win 4-2. After Tyler Green started on Friday, making 21 saves on 24 shots, the RiverKings started Jared Rutledge in net on Saturday, and the move paid dividends as the RiverKings would win this game in a shootout 4-3, as Rutledge made 28 saves. Mantha, Bennett, and Derek Sutliffe scored in regulation, and Sutliffe would score the shootout winner. The RiverKings will play in Huntsville this upcoming Friday night before heading to Evansville.
- 3/09: Brendan Mitchell returned from loan to ECHL Indy Fuel
- 3/09: Nick Wright placed on waivers
- 3/13: Brandon Lubin returned from loan to ECHL Fort Wayne Komets
- 3/13: Sean Reynolds placed on waivers