SPRINGFIELD, MA – It was a game that brought the fans to their feet as Thunderbirds center Francois Beauchemin scored the game-winning goal in the shootout with a wrist shot that went over Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec to help them defeat the Hartford Wolf Pack 2-1 Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
“It’s a great win at home. I think we played a great game together,” Beauchemin said.
“It’s really big. Probably our best game of the year. Perfect weekend for us,” Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault said.
“I thought Monty (Montembeault) was really focused. Made big saves at key times,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said.
The Wolf Pack got on the board first late in the first period. Ryan Gropp scored his sixth goal of the season when John Gilmour took a shot and Gropp tipped it in to make it 1-0. Scott Kosmachuk would get the secondary assist.
Bobby Farnham tied the game for the Thunderbirds a little over three minutes into the second period. Alexandre Grenier served a penalty for tripping as he left in the box, he fed Curtis Valk who connected with Farnham and he was able to use the backhand to beat Mazanec to tie it at 1-1. It was a goaltenders duo all night long. After three periods of play, Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault made 28 saves and Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec made 42 saves.
“It was really a fun game. It was a fast game for both teams,” Montembeault said.
There was a five minute overtime and the game could still not be settled, resulting in a shootout. The Wolf Pack sent out Adam Tambellini, Peter Holland, and Kosmachuk, all they were all denied by Montembeault. The Thunderbirds sent out Valk, Blaine Byron, and Beauchemin and Beauchemin was able to settle the game.
The Thunderbirds will play a pair of games next weekend at the MassMutual Center when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers will come here for the third weekend on Friday and the Providence Bruins will make their way to town on Saturday before the Christmas break. The puck will drop in both games at 7:05 p.m.
The Thunderbirds will and Wolf Pack will play one more time before ringing in the New Year on Saturday, December 30 at the XL Center in Hartford.