T-Birds Stymied by Lights-Out LyonApr 8, 2017
Allentown, PA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (29-33-9-2) unleashed a full-fledged peppering on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (44-23-5-0) net in the final period, but could not solve a red-hot goaltender in an eventual 4-2 Phantoms win at the PPL Center on Saturday night.
Both teams had trouble in the season series protecting the lead after registering the game's first goal, and that trend continued on Saturday in Allentown. The team scoring first was 1-4-0-0 entering play, and Springfield drew that distinction once again when Paul Thompson opened the scoring with his team-leading 17th goal of the season at 3:54.
After Alex Lyon made a save off a shot from Jared McCann that deflected to the end glass, the rebound skittered to the side of the net. Lyon could not locate the bouncing biscuit, and Matt Buckles spotted the puck to hit Thompson in front of the crease to give Springfield the 1-0 edge.
Lehigh Valley, though, would once again be undeterred. After slowly building up the pressure in the offensive zone by Adam Wilcox, the Phantoms finally cracked him at 14:03 with Corban Knight tapping home a rebound that looped over Wilcox's stick, tying the game, 1-1.
The Thunderbirds' penalty kill did a good job in its first attempt at silencing a Phantom power play that entered the game operating at 31% against Springfield. However, a second penalty set up the Lehigh Valley man advantage in the final three minutes of the first, and AHL All-Star First Team selection T.J. Brennan uncorked a one-time bomb that gave the Phantoms their first lead, 2-1, at 17:18, a lead that stood into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, though, the Thunderbirds would get back to even. Dryden Hunt worked his way around the net, dodging a check before throwing a puck into the paint, where Chase Balisy tapped home the loose puck to tie the game, 2-2, just 34 seconds into the middle period.
The two teams traded back-and-forth power play and penalty kill chances, but as Lyon and Wilcox held the fort, the game stayed tied nearing the midpoint of regulation. Finally, after Springfield killed off two different Phantom power plays, Lehigh Valley restored its lead at 5-on-5. On a 3-on-2 rush, Danick Martel hit Andy Miele as a trailer, and Miele blasted a slapper past Wilcox on the stick side from the right circle to push Lehigh Valley's lead to 3-2.
Springfield would earn two power plays in the final six minutes of the period, but Lehigh Valley stiffened defensively, and Lyon's point blank denial at even strength on a Kyle Rau stuff attempt preserved the Phantoms lead in a game that saw 54 shots on goal between the clubs in the first 40 minutes.
Lyon's night was merely just beginning though, as the third period Thunderbirds barrage featured 23 tries on net, with Lyon making stops in all different fashions, including a second point blank denial on Rau with a sliding save with the right pad.
Springfield well over 15 shots on net before Lehigh Valley registered its first in the third period, but the quality was better than the quantity for the Phantoms, as Scott Laughton had a tap-in to the side of Wilcox's net at 11:21 to provide the exclamation point on a 4-2 Lehigh Valley win, their fifth in six games over Springfield this season.
The Thunderbirds will conclude their season with three games in four nights on home ice, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. ET matchup on Wednesday, April 12 against Providence.
Interested in becoming a part of the next era of professional hockey in Springfield? Earn your wings with Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships, which start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.