SPRINGFIELD, MA – Blaine Byron’s game-winning goal in the shootout helped the Springfield Thunderbirds defeat the Hershey Bears 5-4 on Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center extending their winning to five games.
“I mean so far every line is pitching in together,” said Alex Grenier
“I liked the way we played the last couple. Tonight wasn’t as to our identity. We didn’t play the game that was dealt. What I really like about the guys was they stuck with it,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said.
The Bears got on the scoreboard 1:09 into the game as Wayne Simpson was able to put in a rebound to make it 1-0 and extend their lead 1:23 later to go up 2-0 as Anthony Peluso put in his own deflected shot past Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault.
The Thunderbirds responded with two goals 14 seconds apart. Alex Grenier was able to beat Bears goaltender Vitek Vanecek stick side with a setup from Juho Lammikko to make it 2-1. Curtis Valk setup Dryden Hunt as Hunt was able to put in a wrist shot to tie it at 2-2.
The Thunderbirds would have another second-period surge as Anthony Greco scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season as he scored shorthanded with help from Grenier as Greco used his speed on the left side to put in a wrist shot to make it 3-2.
Maxim Mamin extended the lead for the Thunderbirds when he took a pass from Lammikko and Mamin was able to put in the backhand to make it 4-2. It would be the end of the night for Vanecek as Pheonix Copley came into the game.
The Bears rallied in the third period as Dustin Gazley cut the deficit to one almost three minutes into the period. Tyler Graovac tied the game with 2:13 left in regulation to tie it at 4-4.
The game could not be decided in overtime so it was onto the shootout. Montembeault would deny Wayne Simpson the scoring chance. Chris Bourque and Mathias Bau scored for the Bears while Ludwig Bystrom, Curtis Valk, and Blaine Byron scored in the shootout tying a franchise record for having five wins in a row.
The Thunderbirds will look to make it six in a row when the Binghamton Devils come to the MassMutual Center tomorrow night for the drop of the puck at 7:05 p.m. Hershey meanwhile, travels home to take on Lehigh Valley in the Outdoor Classic. Be sure to stay tuned to The Sin Bin for live coverage!