SPRINGFIELD, MA – For the third time this season at the MassMutual Center, the Springfield Thunderbirds needed extra time to decide a winner. While the previous two times have ended with good results for the T-Birds, last night’s did not. Last night, the Hershey Bears defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds in overtime 3-2.
The first period has not been kind to the Thunderbirds so far this season, having been outscored 7-4 and outshot 61-52. The Springfield penalty kill could not keep Hershey off the board in the opening ten minutes, as Paul Carey tapped home a feed from Chris Bourque at 8:43 to get the Bears off on the right foot. Despite a penalty kill that entered the weekend 18-of-19 on the road in penalty kill situations, the home ice has not been as friendly to the man disadvantage, as Carey’s goal was the sixth such opponents’ power-play goal allowed by the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center.
Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna was able to keep the deficit at one through the remainder of the opening stanza.
The Thunderbirds were able to score on the man-advantage in the second period as defenseman Brett Regner came down the left wing corner centering a pass to right winger Paul Thompson. Chase Balisy found the open net to tie the game a 1-1.
Just 30 seconds later, center Graham Black went to the net as left winger Dryden Hunt deflected a pass from Paul Thompson. Bears defenseman Aaron Ness attempted to clear the puck as it hit Black’s stick and went into the net to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead.
The Bears tied the game with 7:19 left in regulation. After winning a faceoff, center Brad Malone scored on a rebound to tie the game at 2-2.
In overtime, the Thunderbirds had a three-on-one chance as defenseman Jakub Kindl and center Graham Black could not get a shot on goal. It took only a little over a minute for the Bears to put an execution on this game. Bears defenseman Colby Williams scored the game winner with a backhand goal to get his first goal of the year.
These two teams will meet again for a home and home series at the end of the month.
The Thunderbirds will travel take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center tonight at 7:05. The Phantoms won in the first meeting between these two teams back on October 15th. The Thunderbirds will return to the MassMutual Center to play the Binghamton Senators tomorrow afternoon at 5:05 P.M.