Marlies' 2nd Period Surge Downs T-BirdsMar 25, 2017
Toronto, ON- The Springfield Thunderbirds (27-28-9-2) fell victim to a strong second period push by the Toronto Marlies (36-26-4-1) in a 4-1 defeat on Saturday at the Ricoh Coliseum.
The Thunderbirds quickly put themselves in a disadvantage, taking the game's first penalty in the first minute of action, but the penalty kill held strong to keep the strong Marlies power play off the board in the early moments.
Sam Brittain was the star in a quiet first period for the Springfield offense, as the netminder turned away all 11 shots thrown at his crease. Toronto had a second power play chance that went away without a tally.
The second period, though, would be a much different story for both teams. The Marlies, fresh off a four-goal second period on Friday, turned a similar trick on Saturday, scoring a trio of tallies to vault to the lead.
Moments after Brittain had returned from a brief exit due to an equipment issue, Andreas Johnsson opened the scoring on a power play at 2:37 to put Toronto on top, 1-0.
Just 6:20 later, William Wrenn finished off a perfect give-and-go passing play with Seth Griffith to up the Marlies advantage to 2-0.
Toronto would not be content there, and Andrew Nielsen added his 13th goal of his rookie season at 17:33 off a rebound from Frederik Gauthier to push the lead to 3-0 after two periods.
Springfield had a chance with a 4-on-3 power play late in the second, but the Thunderbirds could seemingly not solve Garret Sparks, who finished his night with 28 saves.
Toronto battened down the hatches in the third period, only relenting a single goal to Jared McCann, who ended Sparks' shutout bid with less than 2:30 to go on a power play goal. Sparks' win was his first since February, as it was the Toronto goalie's first game back since an injury he suffered on Feb. 25.
Johnsson added his second goal of the night with 1:58 to play on a breakaway from the blue line in to round out the scoring and close out Toronto's modest two-game series sweep of Springfield.
The Thunderbirds will return to the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday to close the season series with Rochester for a 3:05 p.m. ET matinee. The Thunderbirds will then close their regular season with six of the final nine games at the MassMutual Center, beginning on Wednesday, March 29 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.