Americans' Three-Goal First Dooms T-Birds

Nov 13, 2016
Springfield, MA– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-5-1-0) opened the scoring but succumbed to three goals against in the span of 4:03 in the first, leading to a 3-2 win for the Rochester Americans (7-6-0-0) at the MassMutual Center on Sunday.
For a third straight game, the Thunderbirds broke the ice in the first period, thanks to an added boost from Shane Harper. The AHL veteran, who spent the first 14 games of his season with the Florida Panthers, picked up the puck on the right wing side, drew two defenders to him along the wall, and dished a backhand pass into the middle of the ice. Filling the center lane, Stephen MacAulay took the pass, took a shot, and cleaned up his own rebound to beat Linus Ullmark to get Springfield the 1-0 lead at 12:36 of the first.

That lead, however, would not last long against a Rochester team that had plenty of fire in its game following a 7-2 thrashing of a defeat in Syracuse the night before. First, Mac Bennett, normally a defenseman by trade but playing forward on this afternoon, filled the slot area and allowed Eric Cornel to find him with a pass from behind the net. Bennett then snapped a wrist shot past the glove side of Mike McKenna to tie the score at 14:32.

Just 3:15 more had ticked off the clock when recently demoted Cole Schneider picked up the puck on a 2-on-1 and found Nick Baptiste on a crisp cross-crease pass to finish off the odd-man chance with the lead-changing goal at 17:47.

Baptiste would not be finished with one goal, though, as just 48 seconds later, off a clean face-off win by Cal O’Reilly, Baptiste picked up the puck from the left circle and wristed a shot that eluded McKenna on the short side to push the Rochester advantage to 3-1 at the 18:35 mark of the first.

The score held at 3-1 as the Thunderbirds pushed the envelope in the second period but could not beat Ullmark on 12 second period shot opportunities.

On a night when the Springfield penalty kill held the Americans’ 25.5% power play to no man-advantage goals, the Thunderbirds offense continued to charge in an effort to erase the 3-1 deficit in the third, and in the first half of the final period, they were able to cut the lead in half.

After picking up a loose puck behind the goal, Thunderbirds’ leading scorer Paul Thompson circled out to the left wing wall, where he spun a pass through the slot to the right post, where captain Brent Regnersneaked down the back door to tap it past Ullmark at 6:07.

Regner’s first goal of the season capped his second consecutive multi-point night, but his team would not be able to get any closer, as Ullmark finished with 25 saves in preservation of the victory. Springfield’s last ditch efforts were thwarted in the final five minutes due to a pair of minor penalties. McKenna was a perfect 14-of-14 after the first period to finish the night with 19 saves for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds will next prepare for a three-game week that features a Wednesday night tilt in Hartford against the Wolf Pack. From there, the Thunderbirds visit the Utica Comets on Friday before returning home for the first matchup of the season with the Providence Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 19. The night marks a doubleheader featuring a special game involving the Boston Bruins Alumni Team. 
Fans can get into both the Bruins Alumni game and the Thunderbirds game with a purchase of a Thunderbirds game ticket. Packages are available by visiting
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
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