SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds took on the Albany Devils last night at the MassMutual Center. The Thunderbirds would outshoot the Devils most of the game, but Albany came out with a strong third period.
After not converting an early power play chance, Thunderbirds defenseman Brett Regner 6:42 into the opening period after he stepped around a pressuring Blake Pietila at the right point. The captain opened up a shooting lane from the right circle and fired a wrist shot passed Albany Devils goaltender Ken Appleby to give the Thunderbirds into a 1-0 lead.
Former Springfield Falcon Carter Camper responded with a backhand goal to tie it for the Devils at 1-1.
It was a scoreless second period. Both teams had their chances on the powerplay. The Devils had a five on three and could not convert on that opportunity. The Thunderbirds after two periods of play outshot the Devils 24-15.
The Devils took their first lead of the night at even strength at the 6:34 mark as a result of an odd-man rush. Ryan Kujawinski raced up the ice with Rod Pelley in a 2-on-1. Pelley took a pass from Kujawinski and fired a first shot, which McKenna kicked out. However, the rebound sat in the blue paint for Kujawinski to pounce on the rebound for his first of the year, giving Albany the 2-1 lead.
MacKenzie Weegar kept the Thunderbirds in the game with 1:41 remaining in regulation as he put it home past Devils goaltender
The Thunderbirds had a three-on-one opportunity in overtime as Anthony Greco and Mike Downing could not get the shot on net. Minutes later, Ben Sexton delivered the game-winning goal in overtime to settle the game and the win for the Devils with 1:40 left in overtime.
Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear thought his team played a 40-minute game where it was high paced and that it was the way it should be played with tight checking and not a lot of space. Kinnear was not happy about the penalties and would like to see his team play a 60-minute game.
MacKenzie Weegar will be heading to the American Hockey League All-Star Classic to represent the Thunderbirds in a couple weeks.
“We’re going to focus on Albany again to get to them in their building just like they did tonight against us. Game plan is the same. We’re going to go out there and come out hard and get the W.” Weegar said.
Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna made 34 saves in last night’s game.
The Thunderbirds and Devils will finish a home and home series this Friday at Times Union Center in Albany, NY. The Thunderbirds will be back at the MassMutual Center this Saturday against the Providence Bruins at 7:05 pm ET.