Montembeault's 41-Save Effort Earns T-Birds a Point

Dec 12, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - After defeating the Binghamton Devils on Sunday, the Springfield Thunderbirds (13-7-2-3) fell in the shootout to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (13-10-3-1) by a final tally of 2-1 on Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center despite a 41-save performance by goaltender Sam Montembeault.

With 8:24 to play in the first period, the Thunderbirds marched into the Penguins zone and Jayce Hawryluk and Jonathan Ang both had high-quality chances on goal. Following Hawryluk’s shot, the goal light went on; however, Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry had reached up to make a remarkable glove save to preserve the scoreless tie.

Almost 17 minutes into the first period at the 16:52 mark, the T-Birds opened the scoring when Blaine Byron put a centering backhand feed into the slot. The pass attempt banked on goal and got through Jarry, giving Springfield a 1-0 lead on Byron’s career-high seventh tally of the season. Jake Horton and Jacob MacDonald picked up the helpers on the game’s opening tally.

In the first period, both teams were very disciplined with zero penalties being called in the opening period, despite a back-and-forth physical 20-minute frame.

After Ian McCoshen was called for a delay of game at the 8:15 mark in the period, Adam Johnson corralled a spinning feed by Jimmy Hayes and put it home into an open net from the left wing side. Sam Lafferty picked up the secondary assist on the game’s tying goal, Johnson’s eighth of the season. The Penguins outshot Springfield 13-3 in the middle period.

After 20 minutes of play in the third period, the score remained deadlocked at one goal apiece despite chances aplenty for both sides, including 16 shots for the T-Birds on Jarry’s net in the final 20 minutes alone.

1:11 into overtime and operating shorthanded, Springfield marched into the Penguins zone and Joel Lowry hit a streaking Harry Zolnierczyk in stride on a game-ending try, but Jarry quickly shut the door with the paddle.

After killing off a gutsy 4-on-3 situation, the Thunderbirds went to the shootout with the score still deadlocked, 1-1.

After allowing two goals in the first two rounds to Johnson and DiPauli, Henrik Borgstrom kept the T-Birds in it with a goal of his own, improving to a perfect 2-for-2 in the skills competition this season.

In the third round, however, Ben Sexton came in from the left and beat Montembeault over the glove to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 shootout victory, their second shootout triumph over Springfield this season.

The Thunderbirds next take on rival Bridgeport at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Springfield then returns home for a Sunday 3:05 p.m. matinee against the Hershey Bears.

Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit

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