Brick Wall Berra Picks Up AHL-Leading 3rd Shutout

Nov 12, 2016
(Photo Courtesy Binghamton Senators)
Binghamton, NY– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-4-1-0) backed up a complete effort on Friday with a doubly impressive performance Saturday in a 4-0 win over the Binghamton Senators (3-7-0-1) at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday. 
Getting the start for the second straight night, Reto Berra was pressed into much more work than the quiet Friday night that saw him only need to deny 20 St. John’s opportunities.

The Senators, who just came off a game that saw them fire 40 shots against the Providence Bruins, tried to dent Berra in a number of ways in getting eight of the game’s first ten shots, but Berra had the answers, including on the first power play chance of the night for Binghamton.

At the other end, while the Thunderbirds were not able to generate tons of shots on goal, they took advantage of some fortunate bounces near the blue paint. First, Tim Bozon carried the puck in and around the net from the left wing to right wing side. As he came out in front, he tucked a pass near the blue paint hoping to find a teammate. Instead, he found a goal as it ricocheted off of a Senator’s skate and behind Matt O’Connor to make it 1-0 at 10:42.

After Binghamton had their swing-and-miss on a power play, it became Springfield’s turn with the man advantage, and for a second straight night, the Thunderbirds struck on their first man advantage attempt. This time, Paul Thompson took the pass in a stationary position to the right of O’Connor and banked it off of Andreas Englund and past the helpless goaltender at 13:43 to put Springfield on top 2-0.

At the other end, Berra maintained the lead even as Binghamton threatened in a power play in the period’s closing two minutes. The Swiss-born netminder ended the first period a perfect 12-for-12 on save chances. 

The second period brought more of the same for the Senators, as Berra continued to stymie the flustered Binghamton attackers, knocking aside all 21 shots on net through two periods. 

At the other end, the Thunderbirds turned a successful penalty kill into offense at the 11:16 mark, as Ryan Horvat, who already won himself the praise of his teammates in a spirited first-period fight with Mike Blunden, won a puck battle behind the net. As he stepped to the left of O’Connor’s net, he found a pinching MacKenzie Weegar, and the defenseman rifled a one-timer through O’Connor on the short side to push the Springfield lead to 3-0.

Berra continued to shine in the final minute of the period, as the 6-foot-4 goaltender sprawled out to make a diving rebound save on Kyle Flanagan as the Senators were threatening to get on the board with just 52 seconds left in the period. 

Binghamton could not put up much more of a fight in the third, as Berra turned aside 10 more Senators shots in completing his third road shutout of the season. 

To cap things off, Horvat completed the Gordie Howe hat trick by recording an empty net goal in the dying minutes to cap off his stat line with a goal, assist, and fighting major.

Jakub Kindl finished his night with three assists, while Thompson (goal, assist) and Regner (two assists) each parlayed multi-point performances as well.

The Thunderbirds come right back to home ice on Sunday for a 3:05 p.m. ET puck drop against Rochester. Tickets 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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