SPRINGFIELD, MA – A Jared McCann hat trick and a five-goal explosion in the second period was enough for the Springfield Thunderbirds to send their division rival, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, to the golf course next week. The Thunderbirds won their penultimate game at home Friday night 7-0 at MassMutual Center.
“We had a great game tonight,” McCann said. “First line through fourth line, our D played great. You know Coxy (Adam Wilcox) has been great for us lately and overall it was a good game.”
The Thunderbirds wasted no time to get on the scoreboard. MacKenzie Weegar fed a pass to McCann for his first goal of the evening, just 4:24 into the contest, to go up 1-0. Chase Balisy added his 17th of the year with a feed from Jayce Hawryluk to go up 2-0 with 1:57 left to go in the first period.
The Thunderbirds have had their share of struggles against the Sound Tigers in the second period this season, but on Friday night, the floodgates opened in the middle stanza. It started when Kellen Jones was called for holding 58 seconds into the period. Thirty seconds later, Jared McCann scored his second power play goal of the night of the night with help from Paul Thompson, to extend the lead for the Thunderbirds at 3-0. McCann would get the first Thunderbirds hat-trick on home ice when he wired a shot past Sound Tigers goaltender Eamon McAdam to go up 4-0.
McAdam would be relieved by Stephon Williams with five-and-a-half minutes left in the second, but it didn’t matter. Anthony Greco added his 15th goal of the campaign with a left-point flip shot to go up 5-0. Dryden Hunt served a penalty and came out of the box and fired a wrist shot past Williams to go up 6-0. Matt Buckles added the final goal of the night by going top shelf to go up 7-0.
Adam Wilcox came up with some key saves in the final period to preserve the shutout, his third on home ice, with a 28-save performance.
The Thunderbirds will close out the 2016-17 year tonight against their I-91 rival the Hartford Wolf Pack. The puck will drop at 7:05 P.M.