SPRINGFIELD, MA – Juho Lammikko’s third period goal and Reto Berra’s 34-save performance gave the Springfield Thunderbirds a huge victory last night over the number one team overall in the American Hockey League. The Thunderbirds defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-1.
There was no scoring in the first period, although Dryden Hunt gave the Thunderbirds their best scoring chance in the first period with an odd man but Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith denied that opportunity.
The Thunderbirds opened up the scoring in the second period with another power play opportunity. Kyle Rau accepted a pass from Matt MacKenzie on the left side. Jared McCann beat DeSmith stick side to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead 4:07 into the second period.
The Penguins responded almost midway through the third period when David Warsofsky tied the game at 1 on the power play for the Penguins. It was Warsofsky’s 12th of the season.
The Thunderbirds would have to go back on the penalty kill once again but it did not hurt their chances at a victory. Juho Lammikko ended up winning a huge faceoff after the penalty kill. With Lammikko going to the net, MacKenzie Weegar was holding the puck on the right side when he fired a shot. DeSmith made the save as Lammikko found the rebound and beat DeSmith with the game-winning goal to go up 2-1.
The Penguins would receive a power play in the final minute of regulation when Dylan Mcllrath was called for delay of game. Berra’s biggest save of the night when he denied Tom Kostopoulos with a pad save with 30 seconds left.
The Thunderbirds will look to sweep the weekend when they travel to the XL Center to take on their I-91 rival the Hartford Wolf Pack. The puck will drop at 5:00 P.M.