SPRINGFIELD, MA –  Nathan Vila will have a night to remember. During the second intermission on Friday night at the Springfield Thunderbirds game, he took a shot at the net and went in to win a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250.

Vila is 22-years-old and lives at home with his mom and grandmother. He has enlisted in the Army and will be reporting to Fort Benning, GA for a four-year enlistment.

Michelle and Peter Wirth owners of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield were one of the first to congratulate Vila on winning the vehicle on Friday night.

“We are thrilled that the stars aligned tonight, and a true holiday miracle took place this evening at the MassMutual Center,” said Michelle Wirth, Co-Owner and Head of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz of Springfield in a news release. “We would like to welcome Nathan to the Mercedes-Benz Springfield family.”

“What better way to celebrate the holidays than to be able to have someone leave a T-Birds game with a brand new Mercedes,” said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa in a news release.

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield just opened their brand new dealership in Chicopee, MA a couple months ago.

On the ice, Thunderbirds right winger Anthony Greco had a four-point night and goaltender Sam Montembeault had another stellar performance with 31 saves helped the Thunderbirds score four in a row at the MassMutual Center with a 5-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night. It’s the third time in three weeks that the Thunderbirds have beaten the Sound Tigers.

“The boys have been hot as of late. Coming into the lineup, I wanted to try and help out as much as I could. It took like 50 minutes for me to get going on offense but I’ll take it. Monty (Sam Montembeault) played unbelievable tonight,” said Dryden Hunt.

“They’re a team we play a lot. We know they are going to bring it every time we play them. We were fortunate enough to have a good third period and a good first period,” said Greco.

“Felt good right from the start today even before I ended the morning skate this morning. We had a good start today,” Montembeault said.

The Thunderbirds got on the board first a close to halfway into the first period.  Greco was called for tripping on a previous play and once he left the penalty box, Thunderbirds defenseman Tim Erixon found Greco. Greco would setup Curtis Valk and Valk took a shot that went past Sound Tigers goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to go up 1-0. It was Valk’s ninth goal of the year.

Greco was not done in the first period as he extended the lead when Thunderbirds defenseman Ed Wittchow who was a playing as a forward in this game setup Greco as he was able to get a shot past Gudlevskis for his 11th goal of the season to make it 2-0. Maxime Fortunus was credited with the secondary assist.

The Thunderbirds would go up 3-0 35 seconds later as Rob Hamilton scored his first professional goal with a shot from the slot to make it 3-0.  Wittchow and Greco were credited with the assists on Hamilton’s goal.

“It was nice to get the first one out of the way,” Hamilton said.

The Sound Tigers responded in the second period as Mitchell Vandle-Sompel scored his third of the season on a one-timer with assists from Seth Helgeson and Stephen Gionta to make it 3-1.

Josh Ho-Sang cut the deficit down to one for the Sound Tigers on the power play with a shot from the left side to make it 3-2 with assists from Michael Dal Colle and Ross Johnston.

Montembeault’s save of the game came in the third period when Ben Holmstrom came in on the right side on a shorthanded chance but Montembeault denied Holmstrom with a glove save. Montembeault’s confidence is improving in each game he plays in.

Dryden Hunt gave the Thunderbirds insurance with 2:12 remaining in regulation to score his sixth of the season with a wrist shot. The goal was unassisted.

Greco capped off his four-point night with an empty net goal for his second of the night and his team-leading 12th of the season.

The Thunderbirds will go against the Providence Bruins for the first time in over a month tonight at the MassMutual Center with the drop of the puck at 7:05 p.m.

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