3-Goal Second & Suffocating D Downs BearsDec 16, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - After falling 5-3 the night before over rival Bridgeport, the Springfield Thunderbirds (14-8-2-3) rode a three-goal second period to a bounce-back 4-1 victory over the Hershey Bears (11-15-0-2) on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.
Goaltender Sam Montembeault finished with 28 saves in the winning effort to improve to 7-0-1-1 at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds jumped to the lead behind their vaunted power play. At the 6:09 mark and following a scrum in front of the net, Sebastian Repo tapped the puck home from the blue paint for his fourth goal of the season, giving the T-Birds a 1-0 lead. Dryden Hunt and Blaine Byron both picked up assists on the goal.
At the end of the period, however, the T-Birds trailed the Bears 10-9 in shots and came into the second period with 31 seconds left on a penalty kill after Jonathan Ang was called for hooking with 1:31 to play in the opening period.
4:45 into the second period and while on its third power play of the day, the Thunderbirds again scored a goal from short range, as Anthony Greco took a cross-seam pass from Joel Lowry and fired it home from the right circle, making it 2-0 early in the second. Paul Thompson also drew an assist on the play, which was Springfield’s AHL-best 36th power play goal of the campaign.
40 seconds later, Juuso Ikonen put Hershey within a goal with a tally of his own off a net front scramble, cutting Springfield’s lead to 2-1. That, however, would be the closest that the Bears would get to tying the score.
Later on, at the 12:53 mark in the period, Greco scored his second goal of the game and 14th of the season. The speedy winger took a subtle handoff from Ryan Horvat at the side of the goal and lifted a wrister under the bar to make it 3-1. Matt Mangene also garnered an assist on the play. Greco’s second of the day was also his 10th in his last eight Springfield games.
Six minutes after that, the T-Birds put the final nail in Hershey’s coffin when Jake Horton stuffed a backhander over Vanecek’s shoulder from the bottom of the right circle to make it 4-1 late in the second. Bobby Farnham picked up the primary assist on the play, while Mangene picked up his second point of the night on the secondary helper. It was Mangene’s second straight multiple point effort.
The Thunderbirds put the clamps down defensively in a tight-checking final period, limiting the Bears to just four shots on net in the final 20 minutes to preserve a second straight Sunday win.
The Thunderbirds next look to avenge a 3-0 loss from their first meeting with the Syracuse on Nov. 24 when they host their North division foes on Wednesday night, with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.