Driedger's Spectacular Effort Not Enough for T-Birds against Rochester
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (1-2-0-0) fell in a closely contested defensive battle against the Rochester Americans (2-0-0-0) by a final score of 2-1 on Friday night inside the MassMutual Center.
After the two clubs scored a combined 21 goals in two meetings last season, the Thunderbirds and Americans were much more defensive-minded in the opening minutes of the game. Chris Driedger earned his third straight start and was at his best with 13 saves in the first, including a point-blank stop on former teammate Jean-Sebastien Dea.
After the two clubs traded abbreviated, unsuccessful power plays early in the period, Springfield earned the first full power play chance with less than two minutes to go in the frame. With time winding down on the first, Sebastian Repo took matters into his own hands and powered his way down the left wing, around a defender and goaltender Andrew Hammond, before stuffing a forehand shot home for the T-Birds' second power play marker of the year. The individual effort made it 1-0 at the 19:49 mark.
Rochester turned the tables on Springfield in the second period, drawing four power play chances and finally cashing in at the 12:27 mark. After Tage Thompson carried the puck to the right wing goal line, he twisted a pass into the slot to waiting Americans captain Kevin Porter. With Driedger out challenging the shot, Porter wristed it over the T-Birds goalie's glove hand to get the game tied up, 1-1.
The Americans continued to threaten into the final minute of the period and even carried their fifth man advantage into the final period. Driedger continued to be a difference for the T-Birds, on his way to a 38-save night. Among his best work was a 2-on-0 save on reigning 28-goal scorer C.J. Smith and a sprawling left pad save on Thompson.
At the other end, though, Hammond stopped what he needed to in making 20 saves on 21 shots for his second straight win. Andrew Oglevie picked up the game-winning tally with the teams skating 4-on-4 at the 11:07 mark of the third. After picking up the puck in center, Oglevie moved in on an odd-man rush and snapped a shot under the crossbar from the left circle to give Rochester the victory.
Springfield gets a quick turnaround on Saturday as they take to the road for the first time this season against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Puck drop from the XL Center is slated for 7:30 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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