Tight Checking Battles Ends with Bruins Shootout WinDec 23, 2017
Springfield, MA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (13-18-1-1) endured a 65-minute, tight checking battle with the Providence Bruins (19-8-2-0), but the Bruins emerged victorious in a 2-1 shootout win on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
Springfield and Providence did a good job clogging up shooting lanes in a first period that saw just a combined total of nine shots in 20 minutes of play. However, both teams would strike early off opposition mistakes. First, on the Providence side, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson was gift-wrapped a turnover behind the Springfield net, and Kenny Agostino set up the Bruins center for a one-time snapper that beat Sam Montembeault at 1:09 of the first.
Less than 90 seconds later, Springfield was given its own great present when former Thunderbirds Sena Acolatse was whistled for interference. With the ensuing power play, the T-Birds equalized at 3:57 when Alex Grenier ripped a one-time, bar-down rocket over Jordan Binnington to bring the game to a 1-1 tie.
From there, the period had plenty of pace but a shortage of shots. Springfield killed off one Bruin power play after Curtis Valk inadvertently cleared the puck out of play from his zone. The second half of the period saw over six minutes of game action without a whistle until another Springfield penalty was charged to Thomas Schemitsch with just 41 seconds left in period one.
The two teams continued the 1-1 stalemate through 20 minutes of second period action, with Binnington and Montembeault not tested all that much. Montembeault needed to make just six saves in the second, while Providence and Binnington defended all seven Springfield shots in the middle period.
Jayce Hawryluk nearly untied the game late in the period as he got a rebound to the right of Binnington and caught iron with the snap shot. However, the puck stayed out after hitting the near pipe and the crossbar, and the Bruins got out of the period in a 1-1 tie.
The third period saw Binnington and Montembeault come up with some sparkling saves to preserve the 1-1 tie into overtime. When five minutes of overtime went unsettled, the game came down to a shootout.
Josh Hennessy opened the shootout with a goal for the Bruins before Blaine Byron kept things alive for the T-Birds in the third round. In extra shooters, Forsbacka-Karlsson got the shootout winner with a wrister over the glove of Montembeault. The Bruins improved to 4-0 in shootouts with the triumph.
The Thunderbirds break for the Christmas holiday before concluding their five-game homestand on Friday, Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m. against the Hershey Bears on "Yes!" Night featuring WWE superstar Daniel Bryan.
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.