Jonsson-Fjallby Spoils Monty's Marvelous GameDec 21, 2019
HERSHEY, Penn. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (16-14-2-0) locked horns with the Hershey Bears (15-9-2-3) in a goaltenders' duel on Saturday night, with Hershey squeaking away with the extra point in a 2-1 overtime win inside the Giant Center.
Sam Montembeault got the start, and he was at his best in the opening period, stopping a baker's dozen shots from Hershey players at all angles, including a splendid blocker save on a breakaway bid from Axel Jonsson-Fjallby.
Montembeault and the T-Birds' penalty kill also turned aside a late chance from Hershey with both Brett Leason and Joe Snively jabbing at a loose puck right near the goal line before the Springfield defense cleared the zone.
At the other end, Vitek Vanecek - winner of his last four starts - had a quieter start to his evening, stopping the six Springfield shots that came his way in the opening frame.
The goalies continued their excellence to the midpoint of regulation, as Vanecek took his turn in the spotlight with a splendid breakaway kick save on Ryan Haggerty, who was looking for his second goal in as many days.
The Bears finally solved Montembeault at 13:28 when Matt Moulson stealthily deflected a Martin Fehervary point shot through the legs of the Springfield netminder to get credit for his ninth goal of the season. It was the 15th time in 29 games that Hershey opened the scoring.
The Springfield penalty kill again rose to the forefront after Jayce Hawryluk was forced to serve a boarding penalty, and Montembeault bailed his teammate out with a sparkling save sliding to his right to stonewall former Thunderbird Mike Sgarbossa.
After killing the penalty, the T-Birds got their first chance on the man advantage, and Henrik Borgstrom made no mistakes with a one-timer past Vanecek off the inside of the short-side post at 18:35 to tie the game heading into the final period. Aleksi Heponiemi picked up the lone helper on Borgstrom's eighth of the year.
Montembeault and Vanecek each kept the scoresheet blank in the final period as well, and overtime was required. With both teams trading chances in the extra period, eventually Jonsson-Fjallby finally beat Montembeault on a 2-on-1 with a perfectly-placed wrist shot under the crossbar at 4:04 of overtime to get Hershey the extra point.
By virtue of this game's result and the Penguins' loss to Bridgeport, the T-Birds remain tied for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic with 34 points.
The T-Birds and Bears close the back-to-back set at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.