Desrosiers Debuts Strongly, But Wolf Pack Top T-Birds
HARTFORD, Conn. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (1-3-0-0) received another strong netminding performance, but the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-0-0-0) eked out a 3-1 win at the XL Center on Saturday night.
Power plays were a common occurrence in the opening half of the first period on Saturday, with both teams trading man advantages in the game's opening five minutes without a goal being scored on goaltenders Igor Shesterkin of Hartford and Philippe Desrosiers of Springfield. Desrosiers made his first start as a T-Bird in the game.
The Thunderbirds' second man advantage yielded better results near the midpoint of the period, as Jonathan Ang took the puck in the right circle and wristed a shot over the shoulder of Shesterkin to give Springfield a 1-0 lead at 9:49. Kevin Roy and Ethan Prow garnered the assists on Ang's second goal and fourth point in four games.
The Wolf Pack outshot the T-Birds 8-3 in the first period and got the score evened up at 18:06. After the Thunderbirds iced the puck, Hartford won the ensuing face-off, and Nick Jones accepted a pass and unleashed a shot past Desrosiers from the right side, set up by Patrick Newell.
After Springfield had three power play chances in the opening period, Hartford received a trio of chances of their own in the middle period. The Thunderbirds' penalty kill denied the first two, but on the third man advantage of the frame, Phil Di Giuseppe broke the 1-1 tie with a wrist shot from the right circle at 15:33. Matt Beleskey provided a screen in front of Desrosiers as Di Giuseppe beat the Springfield goaltender to the short side, off of the post and in behind Desrosiers.
After posting just seven shots in the first two periods, the Thunderbirds established much more consistent pressure in the third, to the tune of 11 shots on net, but Shesterkin had every answer. With Desrosiers pulled, the Thunderbirds had a 6-on-5 chance in the closing seconds, but the puck hopped over Daniel Audette's stick with an empty net staring at the first-year Thunderbird.
Desrosiers' strong debut concluded with 24 saves on 26 Hartford shots, but was not enough to secure his first win. Springfield will look to pick up its first win this weekend on Sunday afternoon in Providence for a 3:05 p.m. matinee against the Bruins at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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