SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds would come back from a two goal deficit last night against the St. John’s Ice Caps to win 5-4 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd at the MassMutual Center.
The Ice Caps dominated the first period. They went on the power play as defenseman Mark Barbario took a slap shot and Charles Hudon would deflect it in and beat Springfield Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna to give the Ice Caps the early 1-0 lead. Dryden Hunt responded as Ice Caps goaltender Yann Danis came out to play the puck and turned it over to Hunt as he would capitalize and tie the game at 1-1. The Ice Caps responded with another power play goal as left winger Chris Terry took a slap shot and it skidded by Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna to give the Ice Caps a 2-1 lead.
The Ice Caps kicked off the second period with their third power play goal of the game as Charles Hudson scored his second goal of the game off of a reflection to give the Ice Caps a 3-1 lead. The Thunderbirds picked up the momentum in the second period but could not capitalize on the scoring chances.
In the third period, Thunderbirds forward Paul Thompson cut into the Ice Caps lead after he deflected a Dryden Hunt wrist shot from the blueline to cut the deficit 3-2. Ice Caps forward Sven Andrighetto responded with a wrist shot to give the Ice Caps a 4-2 lead. The Thunderbirds got two goals 90 seconds apart. Thunderbirds defenseman Ian McCoshen fired a slapshot to beat Danis and cut the deficit to 4-3. Hunt got the equalizer and his second goal of the game with 6:10 left in regulation.
In overtime, Chase Balisy setup MacKenzie Weegar on the left circle and beat Danis to get the game winner.
“It was a lot of character out on the ice. A lot of young players but we found a way to get it back in the back of the net and we had them on their heels the whole game. We just kept coming onto them. Fortunately we came back and we needed that win at home.” Weegar said of the win.
Logan Shaw will tell you last night’s win was a good team win and a character win.
“The first 20 minutes, they took it to us and we learned our lesson from that. Next 40 minutes was our game. We played the way we wanted to play. We played fast. We played hard and took pucks to the net and we were awarded for it.”
Mike McKenna made 24 saves for the Springfield Thunderbirds in the win last night. McKenna, who played for the Springfield Falcons back in the 2013-2014 season, said it was the best crowd he has ever seen at MassMutual Center.
“It was phenomenal. I mean they were our seventh man on the ice. No question about it. We went to the playoffs a couple years ago and had half of that. This was fantastic. It’s a credit to our front office how great of a job they have done ramping up all the excitement for this season and it sure helped us tonight. They were great.” McKenna Said
Springfield will be back in action in next weekend when they will play two home games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the WB/Scranton Penguins on Friday and Saturday and then play in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers next Sunday afternoon.