Montembeault's Marvelous Effort All for NaughtMar 25, 2018
TORONTO, ON - The Springfield Thunderbirds (28-33-5-1) received a sparkling effort from their goaltender, but could not defeat Garret Sparks in the other net as the Toronto Marlies (47-18-1-1) skated away with a 2-0 win at the Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday night.
The Marlies' penalty kill entered as the top unit in the AHL, but it was Toronto's power play that did the first damage in the game within the opening 10 minutes. After Josh Brown was whistled for a minor penalty, first-year AHL pro Pierre Engvall fired home a rebound from a Miro Aaltonen shot to beat Sam Montembeault at 7:45 of the first, making it 1-0 Marlies.
Springfield was outshot in the first period 12-7, but Montembeault had the remaining answers, including a wonderful blocker save on a high-tip from the slot on another Toronto power play to keep Springfield within one.
The Thunderbirds then had a wonderful chance to tie the score when Francois Beauchemin earned a penalty shot after being taken down on a breakaway. However, the rookie center could not beat Garret Sparks on the stick side and the score stayed 1-0 into the break.
The second period brought more spectacular goaltending at each end. Sparks came up with his best save, sprawling out with a split save on Anthony Greco with the leg pad to keep it a 1-0 score.
Montembeault was equally strong at the other end, with his best efforts coming on a pair of back-post denials with the blocker on Chris Mueller on a Toronto power play. The rookie goalie had 21 saves through two periods to keep his team within range.
Springfield continued to have an impossible time generating any offensive pressure in the third period, while Montembeault remained tremendous in his net, stopping a total of 37 of 38 before Toronto added an empty net goal from Scott Pooley to ice it with less than two minutes to play.
Springfield tries to salvage one game from their five-game road trip when they pay a visit to Hartford on Wednesday against the Wolf Pack. Puck drop comes at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 AHL All Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.