T-Birds in Control Start-To-Finish in Win over IceCapsNov 11, 2016
Springfield, MA– On Veterans Day, the Springfield Thunderbirds (6-4-1-0) showed their most valiant effort of the season on home ice in dispatching the St. John's IceCaps (6-6-1-0) by a final score of 3-1 at the MassMutual Center on Friday night.
The Thunderbirds closely mimicked their first period performance on the road in Allentown last Saturday, as they raced out to a decided edge in possession and in shots on goal.
After getting just two power plays in the first meeting between the two clubs, Springfield made no mistakes with their first power play chance in the opening half of the first period.
Keeping things simple at the point, Logan Shaw fired a slap shot from the right point, which in turn caromed off a body before settling down in the slot for Sena Acolatse, who punched the rebound in behind Charlie Lindgren to put the Thunderbirds on top 1-0.
St. John's vaunted power play had only 1:01 to work with, with Reto Berra kicking out the best opportunity for Chris Terry. The IceCaps saw their power play washed out as Michael McCarron tripped up Juho Lammikko to end the threat.
Lindgren was tasked with keeping the game close for St. John's, and he responded nicely with 14 stops, many consisting of the right-handed goalie fighting through screens and battling bouncing pucks near the blue paint.
St. John's continued to bend without breaking thanks to Lindgren early in the second period. At the 4:16 mark, despite being outshot by more than a 2-to-1 margin, the IceCaps earned a penalty shot as Mark MacMillan was tripped on his way to the goal mouth.
With the lead hanging in the balance for Springfield, Berra showed no panic, calmly sliding to his right to kick out the pad and deny MacMillan on what was the first-ever penalty shot against a Thunderbirds goalie.
The IceCaps drew a late power play to end the second period after MacKenzie Weegar took a seat for interference, but the Thunderbirds' penalty kill held steady, a far cry from the IceCaps' 3-for-3 power play efficiency in the teams' prior meeting on Oct. 22.
After narrowly missing his first goal on a wrist shot bid in the dying seconds of period two, Stephen MacAulay made up for it by stashing home the eventual game-winner at 3:06 of the third. Eric Robinson's centering pass bounced off an IceCap stick and found its way to MacAulay, who stuck it upstairs to give Springfield a 2-0 lead.
St. John's would never get a sniff closer, as Shaw hit an empty net with less than two minutes to play on a shorthanded clearing. Stefan Matteau would score moments later to ruin Berra's shutout bid. Berra settled for 20 saves on 21 shots for his fourth win of the season.
Their three-game losing streak a thing of the past, the Thunderbirds immediately take to the road for a rematch from last Sunday in Binghamton against the Senators. First puck drop is set for tomorrow evening at 7:05 p.m. ET on NewsRadio 560 WHYN.
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).