T-Birds Edge Bruins in Preseason OpenerSep 29, 2017
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds scored two goals in the span of 1:23 in the first period and hung on to preserve a 2-1 win on Friday at the MassMutual Center over the Providence Bruins.
The Thunderbirds and Bruins traded penalties in a busy first 10 minutes of play. Both teams had 5-on-3 advantages before the opening frame came to a close.
Springfield opened the scoring on one of their four first period power plays, as newcomer Curtis Valkpositioned himself off to the side of the net of Providence goalie Mac Carruth. From there, fellow AHL first-year player Maxim Mamin found Jayce Hawryluk in the slot. Hawryluk had his shot attempt bound off Carruth to Valk, and the ex-Utica Comet finished it to score the game's first goal at 10:45 of the opening period.
The Thunderbirds would not take long to extend their lead, as Chase Balisy picked up where he left off from his team-leading point total last season. Mikkel Aagaard feathered the puck from the right wing wall into the slot, where the veteran fired a snap shot through Carruth at 12:08 to make it 2-0 Springfield.
At the other end, rookie goaltender Sam Montembeault dazzled in the first period, making 10 stops, including a breakaway right pad denial on Ryan Fitzgerald with his team on the power play.
Providence and Springfield battled to a draw through much of the second period, but the Bruins finally cracked into the goal column on a deflection by Phil Lane at 18:12 from Nick Luukko and Chase Witala.
Armed with a 2-1 lead entering the third, Montembeault made the lead last on a night where Springfield's penalty kill went a perfect 6-for-6.
The two clubs will reconvene on Saturday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Thunderbirds open their 2017-18 home ice schedule on Saturday, Oct. 14 for a matchup with the rival Hartford Wolf Pack. Ticket memberships, including season tickets, are on sale now, starting at just $12 per game. 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.