Early PP Strikes Can't Withstand Wolf PackNov 16, 2016
Hartford, CT– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-5-1-1) could not hold an early 2-0 advantage as the Hartford Wolf Pack (4-8-2-0) prevailed in a shootout at the XL Center in Hartford by a final score of 3-2 on Saturday.
The Thunderbirds and Wolf Pack began the night's festivities extremely tentatively, with just five combined shots between the clubs in the first 12 minutes. Reto Berra had another quiet first period, seeing just five first period shots. At the other end, Springfield finally was given a chance to open up the offensive arsenal thanks to a pair of Hartford penalties separated by just 19 seconds in final four minutes of the period.
With the 5-on-3 advantage, the Thunderbirds wasted little time vaulting to the lead, with the veteran core at the center of the action. Picking up the puck in the right circle, Paul Thompson fired a short-side offering at rookie Hartford goaltender Brandon Halverson. The goalie made the initial stop, but the puck fell in behind the goaltender's body, where captain Brent Regner tapped home the loose puck for his second goal in as many games.
Just 31 seconds, at the 18:00 mark, Matt Leitner located a loose puck in the slot and spun a backhander toward the goal. Halverson made the first save, but the rebound sat right in front for Sena Acolatse. With nobody marking him from point blank range, Acolatse waited patiently before lifting a wrist shot over Halverson to give Springfield the 2-0 lead by virtue of their first ever game with multiple power play goals.
Entering the night on an eight-game losing skid, the Wolf Pack responded after a subpar first with a strong second period that saw Hartford pepper 11 shots at Berra. They finally cracked the reigning AHL Player of the Week at 14:52, as Nicklas Jensen cashed in after poking an initial pass from Justin Fontaine off the post.
Jensen would not be finished on this night, though. At 9:27 of the third, Jensen stepped in over the Springfield blue line and beat Berra with a perfectly placed wrist shot over the glove hand to tie the score, 2-2.
On a night when the Thunderbirds did not go down shorthanded once, it was not enough, as a late power play situation came and went for Springfield, and then Steven Fogarty tallied the only shootout marker as the Wolf Pack snapped its eight-game losing slide.
Springfield will quickly depart on Thursday in preparation for a visit to New York and a date with the Utica Comets on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. From there, the Thunderbirds will return home for their first matchup of the season with the Providence Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET. 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 www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
Coverage of all Thunderbirds games can be heard on NewsRadio 560 WHYN and via the iHeartRadio app.
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).