SPRINGFIELD, MA– Francois Beauchmein’s first professional goal and a 32 save performance for Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault helped Springfield extend their winning streak to four games as they defeat the Charlotte Checkers 4-0 last night at the MassMutual Center. It was Montembeault’s first career shutout in front of a sellout crowd for the Thunderbirds which was their third of the season.
” Monte was really good tonight. I thought they had some grade A chances. I thought Monte was the difference for sure tonight,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said.
Henrik Haapala got the Thunderbirds on the board after Matt MacKenzie took the shot on Checkers goaltender Jeremy Smith. Haapala was able to put in the rebound with a wrist shot to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead. Alexandre Grenier received his first assist of the evening.
There was no scoring in the second period. The Thunderbirds penalty kill would put its magic to work late in the second period as they killed off two penalties where Montembeault made save after save.
The Thunderbirds extended their lead a little over halfway into the third period when Francois Beauchmein scored his first career American Hockey League goal when he took a shot from the left to side that went by Smith to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead. Jayce Hawryluk and Maxime Fortunus received the assists.
Thomas Schemitsch extended the lead for the Thunderbirds by three goals as he deflected the shot from Grenier to go up 3-0. Grenier received his second assist of the night and Rob Hamilton received the secondary assist.
Mikkel Aagaard sealed the deal for the Thunderbirds with less than three minutes left in regulation. with an empty-net goal with Grenier getting his third assist of the evening.
Montembeault earned his first career shutout and the Thunderbirds winning four in a row. He feels the team is starting to gel together as it showed on the ice last night.
” We knew right from the beginning we knew we had a bunch of guys in the locker room. The bounces just weren’t going our way in the first couple games and we had a lot of talent in there.” Montembeault Said
The Thunderbirds will enjoy a rare Saturday off before finishing off the weekend on Sunday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena with a drop of the puck at 3:00 p.m.