Sound Tigers Snap T-Birds Win Streak

Oct 28, 2016
Springfield, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (3-2-0) could not strike on an early flurry of chances, and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-2-0) responded with five unanswered goals to knock off the Thunderbirds 5-1 on Friday at the MassMutual Center before a crowd of 4,764 fans.
Unlike last week's home opener that saw the Thunderbirds get outshot 12-5 by the IceCaps in the opening period, the Thunderbirds put their foot on the throttle early on this evening, registering the game's first seven shots. However, Bridgeport goaltender Christopher Gibson had each answer, including a dangerous breakaway bid from Paul Thompson.
In a battle of the two worst power plays in the AHL, the Sound Tigers rediscovered power play success at the 9:41 mark in the first period, as Carter Verhaeghe picked up a rebound between the circles and beatReto Berra to make it 1-0 Sound Tigers.
Berra, while only tested six times in the opening period, needed to be ready in the period's dying seconds, as Ross Johnston slalomed his way through the Springfield defense and cut in on goal alone. However, Berra got the last laugh, knocking down Johnston's snap shot bid with the glove to keep the score 1-0 after one period.
The second period began with a wild opening minute that saw the Sound Tigers launch four pucks at Berra's net in the first minute, with the Swiss-born netminder coming up with the stops on each occasion. 
Berra then had to be on his toes for a pair of breakaway chances, but he came up with a pad save on Josh Ho-Sang and then saw Michael Dal Colle miss the net on his all-alone bid for goal.
While Berra did his best to keep the MassMutual Center crowd energized, Bridgeport instead found another power play goal on a night that saw the Sound Tigers enter play with just one power play goal all season. 
At the 4:42 mark, Kane Lafranchise got a shot through traffic, and Bracken Kearns slid the puck along to Steve Bernier, who finished with a top-shelf snap shot to put Bridgeport ahead by a pair of goals.
Springfield once again received a power play chance in the second, but the struggles with the man power advantage continued for the Thunderbirds, and Gibson stood his ground in the Sound Tigers' crease, to the tune of 17 saves through two shutout periods.
The Sound Tigers did not ease off the throttle in the third, despite Springfield successfully killing off two power play chances. First, Kellen Jones intercepted a Thunderbirds pass and beat Berra on the stick side at 2:36 to bump the lead to 3-0 for Bridgeport.
Just 1:59 later, Dal Colle finished off a pretty two-on-one pass from Ho-Sang to up the margin to four goals. Kearns then picked up his first goal and third point of the night on a backhander that found its way home at 14:54.
Bridgeport's penalty troubles in the third finally resulted in Gibson losing his shutout with 2:49 to play, asLogan Shaw tipped home a point shot by Brent Regner on a 5-on-3 advantage. Rihards Bukarts also picked up his first point of the season with the secondary helper.
The Thunderbirds and Sound Tigers renew acquaintances on Sunday in Bridgeport, but not before Springfield welcomes the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to the MassMutual Center on Saturday night. It is T-Birds Trick or Treat at the nest, with costumed fun throughout the concourse. Tickets can be purchased via or by calling (413) 739-GOAL (4625). 
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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