Wilcox, Schemitsch Secure Shootout WinMar 17, 2017
Albany, NY - The Springfield Thunderbirds (26-26-8-2) received another stellar netminding performance from their newly acquired goaltender in a 2-1 shootout win over the Albany Devils (34-25-1-2) at the Times Union Center on Friday night.
The Devils rookie goaltender was an early storyline, as MacKenzie Blackwood came out playing some strong hockey between his pipes. Springfield mustered up 12 shots in the first period after getting just 19 launched at Blackwood in the clubs' prior meeting on Jan. 13 in Albany. Springfield had the first power play chance in the game, but managed only one shot against Blackwood and the Devils' second-ranked penalty killing unit.
Albany had a lighter offensive push in the scoreless first period, but Adam Wilcox made all seven saves he needed to make, extending his shutout streak past the 99-minute mark.
Once again, the Devils took the only penalty of the period in the second, with Ryan Kujawinski guilty of his second different infraction. This time, the Thunderbirds took full advantage on a mad scrum in front.Chase Balisy positioned himself to the side of a laid-down Blackwood, and with no whistle blowing to stop play, Dryden Hunt, Jared McCann and Balisy all jammed at the loose puck before Balisy finally got credit for his 13th of the season. The goal came just 1:07 into the second period to open the scoring.
From there, the Thunderbirds picked up right where they left off in the first, outshooting the Devils 12-7 for a second straight stanza. Wilcox and Blackwood continued to trade save-for-save at 5-on-5. Wilcox got one fortunate break on this St. Patrick's Day, as it appeared the Devils had scored in their own net-mouth scramble, but instead the official had blown the whistle to halt play before Albany could tie the score.
Not surprisingly the Devils roared back in the third to battle to a tie, as Jacob MacDonald beat Wilcox at 13:51 in the midst of Albany outshooting the Thunderbirds 12-3 in the final period.
Once again, overtime was needed, and the goaltenders bent but didn't break. Brian Gibbons nearly ended it for Albany with a left wing shot, only to see Kyle Rau pull it off the goal line inches before it would have been "game over."
The shootout was needed on this evening, and much like their evenings, Blackwood and Wilcox remained next-to-perfect through five scoreless shootout rounds.
In the sixth round, though, rookie defenseman Thomas Schemitsch scored his first pro shootout goal on a beautiful backhand-to-forehand dangle, and Wilcox answered at the other end to seal the win, stonewalling Max Novak to secure Springfield's fourth consecutive win and third straight overall for himself personally.
After Friday's St. Patrick's Day showdown, the Thunderbirds take to the road again on Saturday to visit the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The Devils will then revisit Springfield for a rematch on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET as part of a Friendly's Sundae Funday.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships 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.