Balisy Scores 2, But Bruins Hold OnOct 13, 2017
Providence, R.I. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (0-2-0-0) once again could not withstand another spectacular performance by the top line of the Providence Bruins (2-0-0-0) in a 3-2 defeat on Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
For a second straight week, the first period got off to a tentative start, but as the midpoint of the period approached, the pace elevated itself. Both Zane McIntyre for Providence and Sam Montembeault of the Thunderbirds started to see more pucks as the period picked up steam.
Montembeault, in his first AHL game, would be the first goalie to crack in the duel, as rookie Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson jammed home a rebound from point blank range off an initial backhand try by Kenny Agostino. For a second straight matchup, the Bruins had the 1-0 lead, this one coming at 12:58 of the period.
It looked like things would go from bad to worse for Springfield as Jayce Hawryluk took an immediate minor penalty after the goal by Forsbacka-Karlsson. Instead, it would be the Thunderbirds who had the quick response. Intercepting a Bruins' misplay at the defensive blue line, Chase Balisy raced in alone on McIntyre and sniped a perfect snap shot over the goaltender's glove to tie the game just 52 seconds after Forsbacka-Karlsson gave the Bruins the lead.
Playing in his 95th straight AHL regular season game, Balisy put his team in a tough spot, taking a roughing minor in the final moments of the first and allowing the Bruins to start the second on the man advantage, but the Thunderbirds kill preserved the tie score.
Springfield looked poised to take its first lead of the season, but a 1:44 stretch of 5-on-3 time came and went. The Thunderbirds power play fell to 0-for-12 to start the season, and the Bruins made Springfield pay the price with two tallies in short order. First, it was Agostino breaking loose on a 2-on-1, as he received a perfect saucer feed from Peter Cehlarik to fire home his first goal as a Bruin to make it 2-1 at 12:39. Less than two minutes later, it was Cehlarik returning the favor on a power play, as he tipped an Agostino wrist shot over the shoulder of Montembeault at 14:33.
Despite every reason to feel down on themselves, the Thunderbirds kept pushing the issue and on their 13th power play chance in two games, Balisy set up in the slot and one-timed a feed from Jayce Hawryluk past McIntyre, and the Thunderbirds were back within a goal, 3-2, at 14:59, just 26 seconds after the Cehlarik power play tally.
One final third period power play chance went by the wayside for the Thunderbirds, who finished the night 1-for-7 on the man advantage and are now 1-for-14 in two games this season with the power play.
A final-minute frenzy around McIntyre's net saw two near-misses from Matt Buckles and Hawryluk, but the Bruins held on to preserve their seventh win in eight tries at the Dunkin' Donuts Center against Springfield.
Springfield returns home on Saturday for Opening Night, presented by MGM Springfield. Tickets for this game have sold out, but the pregame Block Party featuring Trailer Trash is open to the public from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Court Square in downtown Springfield.
If you missed out on Opening Night tickets, fear not – the Thunderbirds will remain on home ice this Sunday at 3:05 p.m. for Kids Opening Day against the Toronto Marlies. Area mascots will make the journey to Springfield to help kick off the festivities when doors open at 2:00 p.m. Friendly’s Sundae Funday packs are available for the game as well. Starting at $44, fans can receive four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, four popcorns, and four Friendly’s Ice Cream Sundae Coupons.
The Thunderbirds will also be back on home ice for the first 3-2-1 Friday on October 20 as they host the Providence Bruins. Rene Rancourt will perform the national anthem as he makes his annual pilgrimage to Springfield, presented by King Ward Coach Lines. Through the end of the first period, Coors Light drafts are just $3, hot dogs are just $2, and sodas are available for $1.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and Thunderbirds Full Season Ticket Members receive the most benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug and a commemorative jersey. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.