SPRINGFIELD, MA – Blaine Byron’s goal in the second period along with two third period goals from Thomas Schemitsch and Denis Malgin helped the Springfield Thunderbirds defeat their rival the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-2 Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.
Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear told reporters after the game he was happy with the effort from his team and felt all four lines played well for the entire game.
It didn’t take long for these two teams to renew acquaintances, with 66 seconds remaining in the first period, Thunderbirds’ defenseman Ed Wittchow delivered a hit to Wolf Pack left winger Joe Whitney. Some pushing and shoving came along as Wittchow received a penalty for boarding. Tony Turgeon and Vince Pedrie each got roughing minors.
The Thunderbirds got on the board first in the second period when Hawryluk made a beautiful pass to Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin was able to put the puck past Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to go up 1-0. Curtis Valk was also credited with an assist.
The Wolf Pack tied it up on the power play when Scott Kosmachuk was able to put in his third of the season on the rebound that went past Thunderbirds goaltender Harri Sateri to tie it at 1-1 7:38 into the second period. Vinni Lettieri and Filip Chytill both received assists on the goal.
The Thunderbirds retook the lead in the final minute of the second period when Denis Malgin made a pass to Blaine Byron, who was able to settle it with a one-timer to make it 2-1. Jayce Hawryluk was credited with the assist.
Thomas Schemitsch extended the lead for the Thunderbirds 4:46 into the third period when he took a shot that went over the shoulder of Georgiev to extend the lead to 3-1. Alexandre Grenier and Anthony Greco were each given assists.
Ryan Gropp cut down the lead to one for the Wolf Pack with 6:32 remaining in regulation when he accepted a centering pass from Adam Chapie and was able to put it in to make it 3-2. Vince Pedrie was credited with an assist.
Denis Malgin settled the game for the Thunderbirds with a pass from Maxim Mamin and was able to score an empty-net goal with 1:39 remaining in regulation to make it 4-2.
Before the game Sunday, The Florida Panthers announced that Chase Balisy had been sent down to the Thunderbirds. Balisy has skated in nine games with the Panthers this season, but has been held off the scoresheet.
With the win, the Thunderbirds pull even with the Wolf Pack in points (17) in the Atlantic Division and improve to 6-4-0 in their last ten games.
These two rivals will meet again at the XL Center Wednesday night with the drop of the puck at 7:00 p.m.