T-Birds Shut Out Sound Tigers, Win All Five Home Games vs. BridgeportMar 30, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (29-33-5-2) survived a slew of power plays in the opening period and a half before pulling away and defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (33-27-5-3) by a final score of 5-0 on Friday night at the MassMutual Center. The Thunderbirds won all five home games against the Sound Tigers this season.
The first period would be riddled with minor penalties and power play chances both directions, as the two teams combined for eight penalties and power plays in the opening 20 minutes and change.
Ironically, no power play goals came in period one, but rather a shorthanded tally, and it came on the Springfield side. Already sitting on 12 shorthanded tallies this season, the Thunderbirds added one more to complete a baker’s dozen as a long Bobby Farnham wrister from the right side eluded Kristers Gudlevskis to put Springfield on top 1-0 at the 11:21 marker.
Gudlevskis was good otherwise in period one, stopping 15 of 16 Thunderbirds shots. At the other end, Harri Sateri had an easier time in the Springfield net, turning away all nine shots for the Sound Tigers, despite Bridgeport having parts of two 5-on-3 advantages in the opening 20 minutes.
Springfield did not make life easy for itself in the second period, with two carryover penalties putting them down two men for the opening minute of the middle frame.
Despite that, Sateri and the Thunderbirds penalty kill continued to be magnificent, killing off those minors and one more to get through two periods at a perfect 6-for-6 clip.
As the period crossed its midpoint, the Thunderbirds offense awoke, beginning with Farnham canceling an icing behind Gudlevskis’ net and firing a centering feed to Francois Beauchemin, who beat the goaltender down low to make it 2-0 at 11:36. That came less than a minute after Joel Lowry had a goal washed out when Curtis Valk interfered with Gudlevskis.
Springfield made sure Bridgeport would not get back to its feet just 34 seconds later, as Anthony Greco ended a personal four-game goal drought, taking a centering pass from Chase Balisy and sliding it through the wickets of Gudlevskis to make it 3-0 at 12:10, a score that would remain into the start of the third.
Greco would not be finished as the third period began. After a loose puck jumped to the front of the net off the stick of Dryden Hunt, Greco was there to pounce for his 28th goal of the year at 7:55 to make it 4-0.
Springfield wore down and frustrated the Sound Tigers to the tune of 34 Bridgeport penalty minutes by night’s end. On their fifth power play, the Thunderbirds finally capitalized as Alex Grenier ripped home a one-timer from the left circle at 11:14 from Balisy and Tim Erixon.
The 5-0 score held up and Sateri secured his third shutout of the season, setting a Thunderbirds record for most saves in a shutout with 39.
The Thunderbirds look to put up back-to-back home wins on Saturday as they host the Utica Comets at 7:05 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 AHL All Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.