T-Birds Finally Solved in OT Loss to Bears

Nov 4, 2016
Springfield, MA– The Springfield Thunderbirds (5-2-1) took a lead into the third period on home ice for the first time this season, but the Hershey Bears (4-2-2) showed resolve in coming back to pick up a 3-2 overtime win on Friday at the MassMutual Center before a crowd of 5,773.
The Thunderbirds succumbed to their usual trend in the first period, a period in which they had been outscored 7-4 in their first seven games entering play. The Springfield penalty kill could not keep Hershey off the board in the opening ten minutes, as Paul Carey tapped home a feed from Chris Bourque at 8:43 to get the Bears off on the right foot. Despite a penalty kill that entered the weekend 18-of-19 on the road in penalty kill situations, the home ice has not been as friendly to the man disadvantage, as Carey's goal was the sixth such opponents' power play goal allowed by the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center.
The deficit for Springfield would not get any bigger though, thanks to Mike McKenna's strong netminding, which carried into period two.
Entering the second period having scored just one goal in the first seven games of the season in the middle frame, the Thunderbirds used a pair of Hershey penalties to kick start the offense.
After it appeared the Bears were going to finish another successful penalty kill, Zach Sill flipped the puck out of play, creating a brief five-on-three advantage for Springfield. While they did not score until after the first penalty ended, the Thunderbirds were still able to tie the game. Brent Regner crept down into the left wing corner, centering a pass for Paul Thompson near the blue paint. Thompson then slid it along toChase Balisy, who found the open net for his second goal in three games.
Not to be outdone, just 30 seconds later, Graham Black charged the front of the net and got a big reward after Dryden Hunt deflected a Thompson backhander into the blue paint. Aaron Ness's attempt to clear hit Black's stick and went into the goal as the forward dove at the Hershey defenseman.
With a lead after two periods, the Thunderbirds tried to clog the neutral zone in a tentatively played third period. Off a face-off win for the Bears, Hershey tied the score as Brad Malone found a rebound in front of McKenna and beat the goaltender to force overtime at 12:41. 
For the third time in four home games, Springfield needed overtime, and it appeared they would have a golden opportunity for the win on a mini three-on-one in the offensive zone, but neither Black nor Jakub Kindl could record a shot. Moments later, Travis Boyd found Colby Williams, who finished with a backhand goal through McKenna to win it for the Bears.
The Thunderbirds will continue their second of three straight three-game weekends on Saturday night when they visit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, looking to exact revenge from a 4-2 loss on Oct. 15 in the club's inaugural game.
Springfield then returns to the MassMutual center on Sunday afternoon for a 5:05 p.m. puck drop against the Binghamton Senators. The afternoon marks the first Friendly's Sundae Funday of the year. Packages for the day begin at $44 and feature four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, four small popcorns, and four Friendly's Ice Cream Sundae coupons. 
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
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