T-Birds Can't Sustain Strong Start

Feb 16, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-28-1-1) registered 12 of the game's first 13 shots, but could not survive an offensive barrage at the hands of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32-14-3-3) in an 8-2 defeat on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds seemed ready to break out of their offensive funk in the first period, peppering the net of Lehigh Valley goaltender John Muse to the tune of 12 shots in the opening 12 minutes.
Despite only allowing one shot in that time, the Thunderbirds failed to score, and the Phantoms used a one-in-a-million bounce to take the lead. With Juho Lammikko trying to play the puck behind the net of Sam Montembeault, the puck pinballed off the end glass and steered right in front, where it ticked off Montembeault and into the goal. Danick Martel received credit for the opening Lehigh Valley goal at 13:02.
Just 2:39 later, Montembeault created his own problem as he swung a pass right to a waiting Phantom, and Martel cashed in with a one-timer in front of the goal to make it 2-0. It was Martel's first game back since suffering a broken jaw on Jan. 13.
Lehigh Valley would get another one to knock Montembeault out of the game at the end of the first as Tyrell Goulbourne flipped a backhand to the crease, where Corban Knight touched it home to make it 3-0 after the first.
Evan Cowley came into the game, but the Phantoms kept pressing the issue. Eight minutes into the second, Lehigh Valley picked up the first of two power play goals on the night, as Phil Varone tapped home a pinball cross-ice pass to make it 4-0.
Chase Balisy picked up his 11th of the season at 10:19 for Springfield, playing a puck off the end glass and touching it past Muse.
Before the period ended, Lehigh Valley picked up another power play goal as Oskar Lindblom took a perfect set-up from Varone at 19:25.
The Phantoms then poured it on in the third, with Knight redirecting a T.J. Brennan blast 24 seconds into the third. Nic Aubel-Kubel then made it 7-1 with a tap-in from Travis Sanheim at 3:10.
2:20 later, the Thunderbirds succumbed to a goal into their own empty net on a delayed penalty call. Knight was given credit for the hat trick goal to make it 8-1 at 5:30.
Dryden Hunt picked up a power play goal at 6:25 to make it a 8-2 final score, his career-high 14th of the season.
The Thunderbirds continue their stretch on Saturday, as Springfield will host the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday before paying a visit to the Bruins on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
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.
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