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SPRINGFIELD, MA – Corban Knight’s hat trick and two goals by Danick Martel helped the Lehigh Valley Phantoms defeat the Springfield Thunderbirds 8-2 last night at the MassMutual Center.

“You can’t spot a team three goals. The last three games you’ve looked at it, we’ve done it to all three teams,” Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear said. “There elite teams that can score a lot of goals and when you want to chase the game. It becomes very difficult. It expands a lot of energy.”

The Thunderbirds dominated the first ten minutes of the opening period as they outshot the Phantoms 12-1, but the visitors were the first to dent the scoreboard when Juho Lammikko fired a shot that made a weird deflection and went off Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead. The goal was credited to Martel, who was playing his first game in a month after receiving a broken jaw back on January 13.

Martel scored his second goal of the period 2:39 later with a one-timer to make it 2-0. Corban Knight and Cole Bardreau received the assists.

Tyrell Goulbourne put the backhand in the crease area and Corban Knight was able to put in the rebound to make it 3-0. Cole Bardreau received his second assist of the period.

The three-goal onslaught in the first period would spell the end of the night for Montembeault as Evan Cowley came into the net for the Thunderbirds.  Montembeault faced nine shots giving up three goals.

It didn’t matter, though.

The Phantoms extended their lead in the second period when Phil Varone tipped in the puck to make it 4-0. Greg Carey and T.J. Brennan received the assists.

The Thunderbirds finally got on the scoreboard a little over halfway in the second period. Chase Balisy scored his 11th goal of the season when he played the puck off the glass and put it past Phantoms goaltender John Muse to make it 4-1.  Josh Brown and Ryan Horvat were credited with the assists.

The Phantoms added to their lead toward the end of the second period when Oskar Lindblom scored his 14th goal of the season on the power play to make it 5-1. Varone and Carey received the assists.

The Phantoms made it 6-1 24 seconds into the third period when T.J. Brennan fired a slap shot and Corban Knight redirected it past Cowley.  Lehigh Valley would add two more goals in the period, eight overall, on the Thunderbirds.

Dryden Hunt scored his 14th goal of the season late in the contest to make it 8-2. Tim Erixon and Jayce Hawryluk were credited with the assists.

The Thunderbirds will be back in action tonight for a home and home series against the Providence Bruins at the MassMutual Center at 7:05 p.m. and then end the weekend at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday for a 3:05 p.m. drop of the puck.

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