Apr 3, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -  The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-27-8-5) wrapped up a third straight season series win over the Hartford Wolf Pack (28-33-7-3) on Wednesday night with a firm 5-2 triumph inside the MassMutual Center.


Joel Lowry was clearly ready to get going from the opening puck drop, as he opened the scoring just 1:01 into the action as he breezed through the crease and deflected a Matt Mangene point shot behind rookie Hartford netminder Adam Huska to make it 1-0.


Lowry would not be finished in the opening four minutes, and just 2:23 later, the Thunderbirds winger set up at the near post on a Springfield power play. Again, Mangene and Vincent Praplan would pick up assists on a Lowry strike, as Mangene threw a diagonal pass from the right point to the bottom of the left circle. Praplan then slid across the crease to Lowry, who hit the open net to make it 2-0.


The Wolf Pack, while wounded, would not go away easily. It took just 2:12 for Josh Wesley to answer Lowry’s second goal when he lofted a right point wrist shot that squeezed through traffic, beating Chris Driedger at 5:36.


Again, little time would elapse before yet another red light. Jonathan Ang ended a goal drought that dated back to mid-February when he raced up ice on a rush, took a backhand drop pass from Anthony Greco, and punched it one-touch through Huska at 7:46. The rookie’s fifth finish of the season made it a 3-1 game.


Once again, though, the Wolf Pack had a reply. Exactly six minutes following Ang’s tally, rookie Jones picked up his second career AHL point, and second of the opening period, when he squeezed a power play wrister through Driedger’s equipment at 13:46, cutting the Springfield lead to 3-2 heading into the intermission.


The Thunderbirds outshot Hartford 13-7 in the opening 20 minutes, but only held the one-goal edge and had to begin the second period shorthanded when Alex Breton was whistled for a trip at 20:00 of period one. After killing off that penalty, the T-Birds penalty kill would be pressed into action one more time past the midpoint of the period when Lowry took a minor.

This time, the T-Birds killed the penalty and added to their lead in the process. Greco broke up the middle of the ice, and Juho Lammikko found him on an outlet pass, and Greco made no mistake in beating Huska over the stick side to make it 4-2 at 12:54. It was Greco’s 27th goal of the season and fourth while shorthanded.


Springfield carried that two-goal lead into the third, and once again, the T-Birds killed off a full two-minute penalty to begin a period, turning away Hartford on a power play when Lammikko was sent to the box at 20:00 of the second.


Driedger and the defense had answers for each and every Hartford shot in the final period – the T-Birds netminder set the team’s single season wins record in the process with his 15th winning night of the campaign. He turned away 34 of 36 shots in the win.


After the Wednesday night home contest, the Thunderbirds take flight to Charlotte in their lone trip to visit the Checkers on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.


Springfield Thunderbirds 2019-2020 ticket memberships are on sale now and include the best benefits of being a Thunderbirds ticket holder. To learn more about memberships and single game tickets, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).

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