Montembeault Stops 35 In 2-1 Loss to AmerksDec 8, 2017
Springfield, MA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (9-16-1-0) were outshot heavily by the Rochester Americans (13-5-3-2) and could not find a tying goal late in a 2-1 loss at the MassMutual Center on Friday night.
The Thunderbirds were slow out of the starting blocks against a Rochester team that had earned points in each of their prior six games. After Springfield was on its heels with icing calls in the opening minutes, the Americans struck for the game's first tally.
Former Florida Panther Seth Griffith picked up the puck at a high rate of speed in neutral ice, chipped it past a Springfield defender on the right wing, then roofed a short-side offering past Sam Montembeault at 7:15 to give Rochester the 1-0 edge.
The Thunderbirds had a chance to get back to even with a first period power play chance just under 90 seconds later, but the man advantage sputtered, with Springfield only getting one bonafide chance when Alex Grenier rang a wrist shot off the crossbar.
Montembeault rebounded nicely after the Griffith tally to give his team some life, stopping 12 of 13 shots in the first to keep the score just 1-0 through 20 minutes.
The two teams traded power play chances in a higher-paced second period, with Montembeault and Rochester goalie Linus Ullmark posting every save they needed to make. Ullmark made two tremendous saves in the period, including a sliding save with the right pad in the final seconds of the period off a rebound backhander by Chase Balisy.
Montembeault needed to remain sturdy at the other end for Springfield through a pair of Rochester power play chances, and the 21-year-old did everything he could to keep his team within striking distance, making 25 saves through 40 minutes of play.
On Rochester's 30th shot of the night, they finally beat Montembeault for a second time as Kyle Criscuolo deked to the backhand to make it 2-0 at 7:18 of the third.
Springfield once again avoided being shut out when Max Fortunus picked up his first goal as a Thunderbird at 12:31 of the third. Fortunus fielded a rebound off the crossbar from Ludwig Bystrom to stash it past Ullmark, on what was the only puck to beat the Rochester goaltender.
Rochester picked up a point in its seventh straight game, while Springfield has now dropped three straight.
Springfield continues a busy December stretch on Saturday, Dec. 9 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Saturday's game marks the 2nd Annual T-Birds Teddy Bear Toss presented by Teddy Bear Pools & Spas. Fans are encouraged to bring in new or gently used stuffed animals to throw onto the ice in celebration of Springfield's first goal. The bears, in turn, will be donated to local charities this holiday season.
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.