Penguins' Opportunistic Third Period Downs T-BirdsJan 5, 2018
Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (14-20-1-1) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (20-10-2-1) played a see-saw third period after a 1-0 score through 40 minutes, with the home side coming away victorious by a final score of 4-2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.
The first period was tentatively played, with just 13 shots between the clubs. Both power plays had an opportunity to break the scoreless draw, but Sam Montembeault and Casey DeSmith turned away all shots that came their way. Springfield mustered just five shots in the period while going 0-for-2 on power plays, while the Penguins tallied just eight attempts at the net and failing on their lone power play of the frame.
Montembeault and DeSmith would continue to star in period two, but the Penguins would break the zeroes first when former Thunderbird Greg McKegg found himself in the right place at the right time. With the puck bouncing at the left point, Adam Johnson turned a shot at the net that pinballed right to McKegg on the right wing side at point blank range. The veteran's fourth goal of the season came at 3:12 to put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton into the second intermission with a 1-0 edge.
Once again, Springfield left power plays on the table with two more unsuccessful man advantages in the second period. DeSmith made all nine saves he needed to make in period two to preserve the lead, while Montembeault kept the Thunderbirds in striking distance with 13 saves on 14 shots through 40 minutes.
The third period saw the offenses catch up to the efforts of the defenses, beginning with an unlikely source equalizing things for Springfield. After Dryden Hunt opened up for a one-timer in the slot, newcomer Mark Fayne sneaked down the right side and tapped a rebound through the legs of DeSmith to tie the game, 1-1, at 1:03 of the third.
The tie score would only last 2:59. Christian Thomas elevated a seeing-eye wrister into the top shelf at 4:02 to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead before Ryan Haggerty added his 13th at 13:09 to push the lead to two.
Haggerty's goal proved critical as Hunt got Springfield back to within one at 13:30 on a slick backhand feed from Jayce Hawryluk. However, the Thunderbirds would get no closer, as Adam Johnson capped his night with an empty-net goal, his second point of the game, with less than two seconds to play. Hunt finished the night with two points and seven shots, while Hawryluk added two assists for Springfield.
Following the pit stop in northeast Pennsylvania, Springfield's lone return to the MassMutual Center until Jan. 15 will be tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 6 for Blast from the Past Night against the Providence Bruins, in which the T-Birds will wear Springfield Indians throwback jerseys. From there, the Thunderbirds will travel back to Pennsylvania for battles with the Hershey Bears (Jan. 10) and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Jan. 12).
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.