Checkers Convincingly Sweep T-BirdsFeb 10, 2018
CHARLOTTE, N.C.– The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-27-1-1) were overmatched against a red-hot Charlotte Checkers (27-20-0-3) squad in a 7-0 loss on Saturday night inside the Bojangles’ Coliseum.
The Thunderbirds had trouble maintaining discipline in the early stages, taking three penalties before the game was even six minutes old. On their first power play chance, the Checkers got their first man advantage goal of the weekend, with Andrew Poturalski opening the scoring for a second straight evening from the left wing side. Andrew Miller and Valentin Zykov picked up the helpers on the goal at 3:24, which made it 1-0 Charlotte.
Sam Montembeault would need to be at his best to keep the deficit to one, and he came up large with a sprawling save on a later Charlotte power play chance from Zykov. The rookie netminder, making his first start since Jan. 21, made seven stops in total through 20 minutes.
For a second straight night, the T-Birds took well over a minute of power play time into the second period, but once again could do little with it, and the Checkers made sure Springfield would get no closer.
The Thunderbirds’ penalty kill quickly succumbed to the league-leading 14th power play goal for Zykov at the 5:47 mark of the second, which made it 2-0. Just 2:02 later, the Checkers scored again – this time at even strength – when Warren Foegele fired home his 22nd of the season, the most among all AHL rookies, at 7:49.
Geordie Kinnear called a timeout following the Foegele goal, and while the T-Birds held the fort defensively, the offense still had no answers for Alex Nedeljkovic, who picked up his 20th win of the season and third shutout by making 29 stops.
Charlotte added even more special teams tallies in the third, striking on both ends of a 5-on-3 with goals from Lucas Wallmark and Andrew miller, separated by less than two minutes. Clark Bishop would add the second shorthanded goal of the weekend for the Checkers before Poturalski bookended the scoring with less than three minutes to go.
The Thunderbirds next take to the ice on Friday night against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for 7:05 p.m. ET start at the MassMutual Center.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.