Berra Serves as Brick Wall in Shutout WinOct 21, 2016
Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-1-0) received spectacular goaltending and a steadying presence on the part of Reto Berra as they defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (1-1-0) by a final score of 1-0 at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night.
The Thunderbirds came out of the gates charging on this Friday evening, controlling much of the possession in the game's opening period. In registering eight of the game's first ten shots, the Thunderbirds created early chances and then struck on a strange play.
Ryan Horvat broke through some tight neutral zone checking to gain the left-wing side of the offensive zone. As he was being marked closely, he wristed a soft roller toward the crease. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry attempted to push the rebound into the near side corner, but accidentally caromed it into his own goal, as it bounced off the inside of his leg pad.
Horvat's first goal at 9:25 proved to be the lone tally of the first period, as both teams failed to register on power play chances late in the period. Reto Berra was busier in net in the final half of the period, as the Penguins started testing the big netminder. His best save of the first came off a long-distance slapper by Chad Ruhwedel, which kicked off the end boards to Ryan Haggerty in the slot. With his team on the power play, Berra came out of the paint to challenge Haggerty, and he managed to get a chunk of it with the arm.
The second period brought similar results for the Penguins, as they could not strike on two more power play chances. Berra continued to battle through Wilkes-Barre/Scranton screen attempts and kept the Springfield lead at 1-0 through 40 minutes.
Springfield's power play continued to get chances, but the Penguins' kill remained perfect in their first nine attempts on the season, as the Thunderbirds could not hit the net on two second period man advantages.
The Penguins pushed the envelope in the third looking for the equalizer, but Berra remained stout. His two best saves came off a point blank by Kevin Porter just moments after the Thunderbirds turned the puck over inches in front of the blue paint. Then, with the goaltender pulled, the Penguins fired a last ditch effort, which Berra stopped with the stick off a re-direction from a Chad Ruhwedel point shot as time expired.
The win pushes the Thunderbirds to a 2-1-0 road start heading into the home opener on Saturday night in Springfield.
The Thunderbirds will open their home ice schedule at the MassMutual Center tomorrow, 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.
Tickets to the Thunderbirds' home opener are sold out; however, In celebration of this sell out milestone, the Thunderbirds will be offering up to $5 off the price of a ticket for next Friday and Saturday’s games. This is an opportunity both for those who were unable to make it to Opening Night as well as those who want to come back for more. The Friday, October 28th game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers is $1 Night (with $1 hot dogs, soda, and popcorn) and launches the Pregame Concert Series. Saturday, against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, features T-Birds Trick or Treat for Halloween. Each game is set for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop.
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).