Foegele's Hat Trick Downs T-BirdsDec 1, 2017
Charlotte, N.C. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (9-14-1-0) saw their special teams become their undoing in a 4-1 loss at the hands of a Warren Foegele hat trick, as the Charlotte Checkers (13-8-0-1) on Friday night at the Bojangles Coliseum.
The Thunderbirds had to survive an early barrage as the Checkers raced out for 10 shots in the first nine minutes of the opening period. Sam Montembeault kept the Thunderbirds deadlocked through the early action, including two Charlotte power plays.
With two successful penalty kills out of the way, the Thunderbirds looked to push the attack the other way. Juho Lammikko nearly broke the scoreless tie when he intercepted a puck from Charlotte goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who had come way out of his net to play the loose disc. With an empty net looming, Lammikko could not hit the target as Charlotte defender Patrick Brown dove to the ice to block it away.
The Checkers finally broke the ice at 11:52 on their 43rd shot on Montembeault this season. After the 21-year-old rookie had shut out Charlotte on Nov. 17, Andrew Miller finally solved the T-Birds goalie to make it 1-0 on assists from Lucas Wallmark and Dennis Robertson.
Springfield was outshot 12-5 in the first period, but the Thunderbirds would respond by outshooting the Checkers 11-8 in the second. However, that statistic proved to be misleading, as Warren Foegele stole the show for Charlotte in the middle stanza.
First, with Springfield operating on a power play, Foegele sneaked in behind the Thunderbirds defense to beat Montembeault on a breakaway under the blocker hand to make it 2-0 just 4:13 into period two.
Foegele would not be done though. After that shorthanded marker, his fourth of the season, Foegele again found his way behind the last line of defense and beat Montembeault on another breakaway just 3:35 later to make it 3-0.
At the other end, through some misadventures, Nedeljkovic kept Springfield off the board, even with Springfield getting five power plays through the first two periods. The second-year pro accumulated 16 saves through the first two periods.
The Thunderbirds clawed one step closer just 2:50 into the third, when Blaine Byron tipped a Tim Erixon point shot off his skates and in to make it 3-1. It was Byron’s fourth consecutive game with a point.
However, the Thunderbirds would not get another one as Nedeljkovic finished his night with 21 saves in the win. Foegele completed his hat trick with an empty netter in the final minute, while Clark Bishop ended the night with three assists for Charlotte.
After taking a rest on Saturday, the Thunderbirds and Checkers will meet again on Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. ET rematch. Springfield then returns home for the start of a 3-in-3 against Rochester on Friday, Dec. 8.
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.