Feb 9, 2019

TORONTO, Ont. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (21-20-6-4) rebounded from a tough showing on Friday in Rochester, but could not solve a former teammate in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Marlies (25-16-4-3) on Saturday at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.


The Thunderbirds got on the board first at the 1:39 mark in the first period when Jonathan Ang whacked home a rebound off a shot by Jamie McGinn and into the back of the net past Marlies goaltender Michael Hutchinson.


Toronto got its first chance on the power play when Matt Marcinew was called for high sticking at the 15:06 mark in the first period, but the Marlies were unable to convert. Just seconds after the penalty expired, however, Adam Brooks took a shot from the center point and it deflected off a T-Bird defender right to the stick of Gabriel Gagne, who chipped it over the glove of Springfield goaltender Sam Montembeault, tying the score at one goal aside at the 17:13 mark in the first period.


With 11 seconds left in the first period, Bobby Farnham intercepted a Toronto pass and, using a teammate’s stick from the bench, broke into the Toronto zone in a breakaway fashion. Farnham was able to get a shot off on Hutchinson, but he was denied. As the period ended, he was taken down by the Marlies Chris Mueller, and both players picked up minor penalties for roughing at the 20:00 mark. Both goaltenders held their teams in the game with Montembeault stopping seven of eight shots in the first period, while Hutchinson stopped 11 of 12.


At the 4:20 mark in the middle stanza, after killing a Toronto power play, the Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead when a left-wing McGinn shot squeaked through Hutchinson off a deflection from Thomas Schemitsch. Captain Paul Thompson picked up the secondary assist on the score.


At the 7:09 mark Schemitsch was called for high-sticking, giving the Toronto power play its third chance of the night. 47 seconds later, Chris Mueller got behind Montembeault  at the left post and tapped home a feed from Jeremy Bracco, tying the game, 2-2.


Following a scrap between Thompson and Vincent LoVerde, Springfield earned its first power play, but it was Toronto that struck and took a 3-2 lead. At 15:47, Trevor Moore raced up ice with Adam Brooks in a 2-on-1, with Brooks potting a one-timer through Montembeault to send the Marlies to the lead in the second intermission.


Despite being a bottom-five defense in the AHL coming into Saturday, the Marlies and Hutchinson kept the Thunderbirds from getting the game equalized in the third, limiting Springfield to just five shots in the final 20 minutes. On the T-Birds’ best chance of those five, Ang could not beat Hutchinson on a 2-on-1 with Matt Marcinew moments after Marcinew had escaped the penalty box.


Springfield went 4-for-5 on the PK and were unsuccessful with their solitary power play in the game late in the second. Montembeault made 24 saves in the losing cause, while Hutchinson knocked off his former team with 28 saves on 30 shots.


The Thunderbirds return home on Friday and Saturday for home ice mathups with Charlotte and Toronto respectively on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16. Both games start at 7:05 p.m. ET.


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