T-Birds Offense Runs Dry In Loss to Toronto

Oct 15, 2017
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (0-4-0-0) again struggled to find the net and fell in a narrow 2-1 contest to the Toronto Marlies (4-1-0-0) at the MassMutual Center on Sunday.
 
The first period began cautiously on both sides, as shots came at a premium for both teams in the early going. Springfield had perhaps the best pair of chances in the opening period, as the Marlies coughed up a puck in center and started a Thunderbirds 3-on-1 rush. Maxim Mamin fired a wrister that Toronto goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo turned away with the blocker. The rebound bounced right to Denis Malgin who also could not beat Kaskisuo, as he kicked away the second chance bid.
 
Toronto would get their own chances with a pair of first period man advantages, but Sam Montembeault, like Kaskisuo, went a perfect 9-for-9 on save chances in the opening 20 minutes.
 
Things finally escalated in the middle period, thanks to a spirited fight between Springfield's Eddie Wittchow and Toronto's Colin Greening. A set of matching minors followed shortly thereafter, and with more open ice, the 4-on-4 action created the game's first tally.
 
Off a defensive zone draw, the Thunderbirds lost control of the puck, leading to an odd-man rush for the Marlies. Rookie Jeremy Bracco curled it around a sprawled Springfield defender, took a shot, and generated a rebound off of Montembeault. Ben Smith was on the scene to pounce on the rebound and beat a fallen Montembeault to give Toronto a 1-0 lead at 8:12.
 
Despite giving up the game's opening goal for a fourth straight contest, the Thunderbirds answered in a hurry, as Mikkel Aagaard sneaked a wrist shot past Kaskisuo on the short side from the left circle at 10:16, just 2:04 after Toronto had taken the lead.
 
The tie score remained through the end of the period, despite the two teams combining for eight minor penalties through the course of play in the second.
 
The power play struggles for both sides continued into the final period - Toronto would finish the night at 0-for-6 on the man advantage while Springfield went 0-for-5.
 
´╗┐After Springfield failed to connect after Mason Marchment took a slashing minor at 5:32 of the third, Marchment broke the deadlock himself. He jumped into a rush and found a puck at the side of Montembeault's net off an end-glass rebound of a Rinat Valiev shot. The winger's first of the season provided the deciding margin in the 2-1 game.
 
In the losing effort, Montembeault stopped 21 of 23 shots. Kaskisuo made 26 saves on 27 Springfield shots for his first victory of the season.
 
The Thunderbirds return to home ice for the first 3-2-1 Friday on October 20 as they host the Providence Bruins. Rene Rancourt will perform the national anthem as he makes his annual pilgrimage to Springfield, presented by King Ward Coach Lines. Through the end of the first period, Coors Light drafts are just $3, hot dogs are just $2, and sodas are available for $1.
 
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and 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 visitwww.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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