THREE-GOAL LEAD & WIN STREAK SLIP AWAY FROM T-BIRDS AGAINST DEVILSJan 19, 2018
Springfield, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (19-22-1-1) raced out to a 3-0 lead but could not hold on as the Binghamton Devils (12-21-5-2) prevailed 5-3 on Friday night at the MassMutual Center, snapping their five-game losing streak and ending Springfield's five-game winning streak in the process.
The Thunderbirds wasted little time picking up where they left off in their shootout win Wednesday with Hershey. The fourth line got Springfield on top first, as Chase Balisy was the beneficiary of an easy tap-in off a shot by Rob Hamilton that sneaked through Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood before Balisy furthered it across the line. Mikkel Aagaard also picked up an assist in his first game back with the T-Birds since Dec. 3.
Springfield would not be done, though. Alex Grenier wasted little time putting his stamp on the first period. First, he moved over the right wing with no support and two defenders on his back. Despite that, the big winger was able to spin to his backhand and elevate a shot over Blackwood's shoulder to put Springfield up 2-0 at 11:57.
Grenier would then be the dishing source at 17:00 of the period, finding his linemate Juho Lammikko on a beautiful forehand, spinning pass from right circle to left post. Maxim Mamin picked up the secondary assist on both Grenier's and Lammikko's tallies and the Springfield lead swelled to 3-0.
Despite being a last place club, the Devils would not go away quietly, even in the first period. After serving a minor penalty earlier in the period, Kevin Rooney moved his way in front of Sam Montembeault, took a feed from Nick Lappin at the base of the left circle, and muscled it through the Springfield goalie to bring the lead to 3-1 at 18:24.
Just 1:15 later, Binghamton got one more goal closer as Michael Kapla sneaked down the left side and snapped a shot through Montembeault at 19:39 to bring the Devils deficit to just a single goal, 3-2, heading into the second.
Things would not fare any better for Montembeault in the second, as Kapla picked up his second goal of the game just 2:18 into the second on a wrist shot from the left point. Montembeault's night came to an end after the third goal on 11 Devils shots.
Evan Cowley entered, but the Binghamton offense did not relent. After every Springfield defender collapsed to the right wing side, Viktor Loov took the puck at the left point and slid a perfect diagonal feed to Nick Lappin at the right post, and the Devils' leading goal scorer connected on his 15th of the season at 3:19.
For the first time in five games, the Thunderbirds offense could not strike in the second and would have to enter the third trailing by a 4-3 tally against a Devils team that had not won a game all season when allowing three or more goals.
Binghamton changed that trend in the third, as Blackwood bounced back from his shaky first to snap his own personal six-game losing slide with 31 saves on the night. Rooney added his second goal of the evening past the mid-point of the frame to ice it for the Devils. In relief of Montembeault, Cowley stopped 18 of 20 shots.
Springfield has a quieter weekend slate after the loss to the Devils, as they will take Saturday off before visiting the Providence Bruins on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.