SPRINGFIELD, MA – In front of their second sell out crowd of the season, the Springfield Thunderbirds defeated their I-91 rivals, the Hartford Wolf Pack, by the final score of 5-2 Saturday night.
Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear told reporters he thought his team was playing fast, but over thought the game in the first period.
“What I liked is we stuck to how we wanted to play. When you’re down 2-0 as long as you play and the same way. You’ll come back and we did that,” Kinnear said.
Wolf Pack goaltender Jeff Malcolm was only playing in just his second American Hockey League game this year. He would face the challenge of 16 shots in the first period, not letting one get by him. Wolf Pack center Steven Fogarty would get the Wolf Pack on the board, when he played the puck out of his skate and beat Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Brittain with 53 seconds left in the first period to go up 1-0.
The Wolf Pack extended their lead 5:38 into the second period when Adam Tambellini beat Brittain with a one-timer to go up 2-0. The Thunderbirds would seize the momentum for the rest of the game, with five unanswered goals.
Dryden Hunt threw a cross-ice pass to Paul Thompson for his team leading 14th goal of the year to make it 2-1. Anthony Greco would take cross-rink pass from Jared McCann and beat Malcolm tie the game at 2-2 after two periods. It would be Greco’s third goal in two games.
“It was a nice play by Canner. I tried to show him I was going to the net and just get open. He made a great pass and I just had to get a stick on it and happen to go in,” Greco Said.
The Thunderbirds would still be in control heading into the third period. All it would take was 36 seconds into the third period when Paul Thompson scored his second goal of the evening accepting a beautiful blind centering pass from Chase Balisy and beat Malcolm to go up 3-2.
Zac Lynch extended the lead for the Thunderbirds with his second of the year 1:26 later. Ian McCoshen would give the Thunderbirds with a one-timer past Malcolm to extend the lead to 5-2.
“Doesn’t really matter what the score is. Want to keep the pressure on them and make them quit and we pretty much did. Our goal was achieved there. We still want to keep putting pressure on other teams when we can,” McCoshen said.
The Thunderbirds will be back in action this afternoon when they take on the Rochester Americans at the MassMutual Center. The puck will drop at 3:05 P.M.