WATERTOWN — Jeremy Pominville continues to be a workhorse goalie for the Watertown Wolves and Friday night was no exception.
Pominville made a career-high 71 saves, including five in overtime, as the Wolves edged the Carolina Thunderbirds, 2-1, in a shootout on Friday night in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game at Watertown Municipal Arena.
The rookie goalie denied the league-leading Thunderbirds by stopping three breakaway attempts in overtime alone.
Watertown (25-19) went on to win the shootout, 3-1, with Joe Deveny, Dominik Bogdziul and Kyle Powell scoring goals.
“The win feels great,” Pominville said. “Carolina’s is the top team in the league right now, so anytime you get to play those guys, it’s like a playoff game.”
Dallas Desjarlais scored a power-play goal in the third period for the Wolves, who have won three straight games. Carolina’s Gleb Krivoshapkin scored with 14 minutes and 27 seconds left in regulation to tie the game.
Then with Watertown on a power play in overtime, Pominville stopped breakaways from Petr Panacek and Jiri Pargac. Then with the teams back to even strength, Pominville denied Pargac again on a breakaway, corralling in the rebound with 47.5 seconds left.
“It’s just part of the game for me,” Pominville said. “Like it doesn’t change anything, I’m always ready for anything, right? Overtime, it’s wide open and that’s kind of expected I guess, but things went my way.”
In the shootout, Deveny scored in the first round on a wrister, Bogdziul deked Carolina goalie Nicholas Modica and scored through his pads and Powell also faked out the goalie, converting on a backhander.
“I just went with what the goalie gave me,” Powell said. “This is real big win for the team, it feels great.”
Viktor Grebennikov scored in the first round of the shootout for the Thunderbirds, but Pominville denied the next three shooters, finishing off the win with a pad save on Jon Buttitta.
“I felt good,” Pominville said. “I’m not going to lie, I felt good tonight and we found a way to win.”
“Pommer was outstanding, just outstanding,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said of Pominville.
Modica, a rookie goalie making his first pro start, made 35 saves for Carolina (32-10), including denying Wolves rookie Denis Zaychik’s breakaway bid, stopping the forward’s backhander with 11 minutes left in regulation.
After both teams went scoreless through the first two periods, Desjarlais scored on the power play as he tapped in a feed in front from Deveny 2:57 into the third period.
Carolina drew even on Krivoshapkin’s goal 2:30 later as he scored on a drive from the deep right point.
Pominville stopped all 50 shots he faced through the first two periods. He kept the game scoreless when he denied Carolina’s Jan Salak in close with 6:50 left in the period.
Pominville also made 27 saves the first period to keep the Thunderbirds at bay.
“I think we did a good job, we kept a lot of the shots to the outside perimeter,” MacLean said. “We were kind of clogging up the neutral zone, which helped us. And we managed to get a power-play goal.”
It also marked the first time that Carolina was blanked over the first two periods this season.
After suffering various injuries last week, there were several new faces in the lineup for Watertown.
The Wolves signed rookie forwards Tyson Bruce, Anthony Filoso and Ryan Swain earlier this week. Bruce and Filoso both played for SUNY Canton, including this past season.
Also this week, Watertown signed defenseman Tristan Mckay, who also made his team debut Friday.
Deveny also played for SUNY Canton through last season.
Wolves forwards Deric Boudreau, Tanner Hildebrandt, Tyler Bullard, Jamie Lukas were sidelined Friday after they were injured in games last weekend.
“That’s a big confidence booster for the guys, with literally like six guys out of the lineup,” MacLean said. “We shuffled the deck a little bit with our lines and it worked out.”
The Thunderbirds and Wolves will play again at 7:30 tonight in Watertown in the final game of the season series.
“It just goes to show you, in a short series when the playoffs come around, it’s anybody’s game,” MacLean added.
n NOTES: Pominville had reached his career high in saves by the end of the second period. His previous career best in saves was 46 stops in a 3-2 Watertown win at Danville on Nov. 8. ... Carolina leads season series, 2-1.