SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds lost their fifth straight (and sixth straight on home ice) as Bryon Froese scored the game-winning goal late in the second period to lift the Toronto Marlies to a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.
Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear was very happy with how his team performed in yesterday’s loss.
“To be quite honest, I was thrilled how we played. The first period was exactly the identity of this team: play fast, make plays. It’s disappointing with the outcome. As we all know, everything is suppose to be hard. When you’re not winning hockey games, it’s hard but you have stick to it. Eventually you’ll climb out of it and then you roll with a few but you gotta keep playing the same way,” Kinnear Said
Kyle Rau opened up the scoring late in the first period and scored the Thunderbirds only goal of the afternoon. Thunderbirds defenseman Josh Brown chipped the puck out of the zone that started a foot race the other way. Rau and Brody Sutter broke out on an odd man rush, then Rau unleashed a slapshot that Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks was able to get a piece of with his glove but not enough as the puck still found the back of the net to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
The Marlies responded 4:31 into the second period. Marc-Andre Cliche accepted a pass from Trevor Moore and beat Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna to tie it at 1-1 .
The Marlies took the lead with 3:57 remaining in the second period as they crashed the Thunderbirds net. Bryon Froese put a backhand past McKenna to go up 2-1, and that’s all the Marlies would need.
The Thunderbirds tried to put an end to their recent heartbreak in the third period but Sparks dazzled to spurn their comeback efforts, stopping all 11 shots that he faced in the final frame. The Thunderbirds pulled McKenna in the closing minutes of regulation which included a six on four with a power play but could not capitalized on getting the equalizer.
In total, Sparks stopped 32 of the 33 Thunderbirds shots for the victory, as McKenna made 25 saves in the losing effort.
The Thunderbirds will have three games in four nights this weeks as they travel to take on the Utica Comets on Wednesday and will wrap up the weekend with home games on Friday and Saturday against the Syracuse Crunch and Hershey Bears.