Weegar, Sutter Pace T-Birds to First Win

Weegar, Sutter Pace T-Birds to First-Ever Win

Oct 16, 2016
(Photo Courtesy Jon Tenca/Puck Stopper Photography)
Bridgeport, CT – The Springfield Thunderbirds (1-1-0) received two-point nights from a pair of players as they defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-1-0) by a final score of 2-1 on Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena. It was the first regular season victory in the history of the Thunderbirds franchise.
The Thunderbirds and Sound Tigers were tentative out of the starting blocks, as the two teams combined for just 16 shots in the opening period, with eight per side. Reto Berra proved to be stable in the Springfield crease in what was the Swiss goaltender's Thunderbirds debut. 
Berra came up with three of his eight first period saves in one sequence, kicking out a deflected point shot from Scott Mayfield before spreading his left arm and leg along the ice to knock away two rebounds.
At the other end, the Thunderbirds were presented with already their second 5-on-3 advantage in as many nights. This time, Springfield maintained its discipline, but unfortunately the offensive pressure did not follow, as the Sound Tigers killed off the advantage to end the first.
The Thunderbirds, for a second night in a row, came out with a new attitude in the second period, once again outshooting their opposition. Moments after Anthony Greco stepped out of the box following a minor penalty, MacKenzie Weegar played role of trailer on a 3-on-2 rush, taking a pass from Brody Sutter and beating Stephon Williams over the blocker hand at 3:50 to give Springfield its first lead of the season. Logan Shaw also picked up his first point as a Thunderbird with the second assist on Weegar's first goal of the season.
Unbelievably, the Thunderbirds earned not one, but two penalty shots in the span of just 37 seconds near the midpoint of the second period. With his team's backs against the wall, Williams came up with a stick save on Kyle Rau, who tried to slide the puck between the goaltender's legs. Then, Rihards Bukarts fell victim to awful puck luck, as the biscuit rolled off his stick and skittered into the corner without Williams needing to make a save.
Another Springfield power play chance followed the penalty shots, but Williams and the active shot-blocking Bridgeport defense limited the damage to a 1-0 Thunderbirds lead heading into the third period.
Despite the missed penalty shots and despite going 0-for-8 on power play chances for the afternoon, the Thunderbirds did not yield, and in the third, Sutter returned the favor, deflecting a Weegar point shot this time through Williams at the 8:52 mark.
Kane Lafranchise tried to make things interesting when he sneaked a bad-angle shot past Berra with 3:12 to play to bring the final score to 2-1. The veteran Berra only needed to make 17 saves to secure the first victory in Thunderbirds history.
Following the Sunday matinee victory, the Thunderbirds will play one more road game before the home opener, as they will travel to northeast Pennsylvania for a date with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7:05 p.m. ET. Coverage can be heard on NewsRadio 560 WHYN.
The Thunderbirds will then open their home ice schedule at the MassMutual Center on Saturday, Oct. 22 for Opening Night presented by MGM Springfield against the St. John's Ice Caps. Preceding the game is the T-Birds Tailgate from 4-6 p.m. at Court Square, adjacent to the MassMutual Center. 

Opening Night packs are available, courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts, for the first regular season home game in Thunderbirds history. Packages start at $75 and feature two Opening Night tickets, four ticket vouchers, a commemorative puck, and a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).

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