Driedger, T-Birds Edged out by Wolf Pack, 1-0
HARTFORD, Conn. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-4-0-0) launched 36 shots at the net, but could not find the net in a 1-0 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack (4-0-0-1) on Friday night at the XL Center.
The Thunderbirds and Wolf Pack shared a disciplined first period of play, with no penalties to speak of in the opening 20 minutes. Chris Driedger recorded all nine saves asked of him in the first, while Igor Shesterkin denied seven in a row in the Hartford crease.
Driedger and the Thunderbirds avoided an early deficit with an assist from the iron when Filip Chytil beat the Springfield goalie between the legs, only to see the puck catch the post along the ice and sit in the blue paint before the T-Birds cleared it away from danger. Moments later, Shesterkin prevented a Hartford goal against when he came way out of his net to play the puck to center. However, Daniel Audette knocked it down on the left wing and quickly fired back to the net. Shesterkin backpedaled and, sliding toward the edge of his crease, was able to knock it aside with his arm.
ï»¿The scoreless tie lasted until nearly the midpoint of regulation. The Wolf Pack's top line finally broke the deadlock at 7:04 when Phil Di Giuseppe carried the puck through the Thunderbirds defense before squeaking it between Driedger's legs for his second goal in as many games against the T-Birds. Vinni Lettieri and Filip Chytil picked up the helpers.
Springfield threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the net with 17 shots in the final period, including over a minute of 6-on-5 attacking time, but Shesterkin and the Hartford defense stiffened to preserve the first AHL shutout for the 23-year-old Russian netminder. In the hard-luck defeat, Driedger stopped 22 of 23 to improve his season totals in both save percentage and goals-against average.
The Thunderbirds get a quick chance to rebound on Saturday night with a visit to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pa. at the PPL Center. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m.
After this weekend's road swing, the Thunderbirds embark on another three-game weekend on Oct. 25-27 with a visit to Bridgeport on Friday (7:00 p.m.) before home tilts with Belleville on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) and Rochester on Sunday (5:05 p.m.).
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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