SPRINGFIELD, MA — Growing pains are still happening for the Springfield Thunderbirds; a young team with a lot of first and second-year guys and the month of October has not been kind to them. Danick Martel scored two goals to lift the Phantoms past the Thunderbirds, 5-2, on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
“It’s an elite team in the American Hockey League. We went into their building and played 40 minutes of really good hockey and lost in overtime. It’s a transition game. They got four lines of skill pretty high end and you know mistakes are in the back of your net and we were chasing the game after that.” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said
Martel scored his first of the evening and his eighth of the year on the power play when he went top shelf past Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault to go up 1-0 at 8:03 into the first period. Oskar Lindblom and Chris Conner were credited with assists.
Will O’Neill extended the lead for the Phantoms 55 seconds later, blasting a slap shot past Montembeault to go up 2-0. Mikhail Vorobyev and Radel Fazleev were credited with the assists.
The Thunderbirds cut into the Phantoms lead as Alexandre Grenier set up Maxim Mamin for a one-timer to put it past Phantoms goaltender Dustin Tokarski to make it 2-1. The score was Mamin’s first AHL goal. Mathieu Brodeur was credited with the assist.
The Phantoms would not go away quietly with 1:29 remaining in the first period as Cole Bardreau took the loose puck and put it past Montembeault for a shorthanded goal to go up 3-1. Reece Wilcox was credited with the assist.
It would be the end of the night for Montembeault as he faced seven shots giving up three goals. Kinnear wanted to bring some energy into the second period. He put it in goaltender Harri Sateri to start the second period but the Phantoms momentum would continue as Oskar Lindblom scored his first goal of the year 15 seconds into the second period. Corban Knight received an assist and Chris Conner received his second assist of the night.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel setup Danick Martel for his second of the night to put it past Sateri to give the Phantoms a 5-1 lead. Mike Veechione was credited with the second assist.
The Thunderbirds cut into the lead again as Alexandre Grenier setup Juho Lammikko and Lammikko put it past Phantoms goaltender Tokarski to make it 5-2. Henrik Haapala was also credited with an assist.
Dustin Tokarski was credited with 26 saves in the win for the Phantoms. Thunderbirds goaltender Harri Sateri made 18 saves when he came in relief for Sam Montembeault.
The Thunderbirds will take on the Binghamton Devils tonight for the first time in franchise history. Kinnear would like to see his players improve.
“A lot of first-year, second-year guys that still need to tighten things up. I am looking for those guys to get better. It’s a good hockey team in Binghamton. A small building but we want to improve within our team and then as you move forward down the line you can start worrying about other teams but we got to get our game in order to keep building and getting better.” Kinnear said.