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Hofer's Historic Goalie Goal Puts Icing on Game 2 Win

May 12, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release


Springfield Thunderbiards goaltender Joel Hofer celebrates his goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Springfield Thunderbiards goaltender Joel Hofer celebrates his goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
(Springfield Thunderbirds, Credit: Springfield Thunderbirds Media)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Hofer scored the first goalie goal in team history as Springfield defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 6-2, in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals. Springfield now leads the best-of-5 series two games to none.

Hofer picked up right where Charlie Lindgren left off in the Springfield net in Game 1, keeping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton off the board on 10 relatively low-danger shots in the first period, including a mostly uneventful penalty kill for the T-Birds special teams unit.

On their second power play of the opening period with less than two minutes to go in the frame, Matthew Peca got Springfield to the lead at 18:13, fielding a cross-crease pass from Hugh McGing and jabbing it past Tommy Nappier to give the T-Birds the 1-0 lead into the intermission.

The Springfield power play, which was just 2-for-23 against the Penguins during the regular season, improved to 2-for-5 over the first four periods of the series.

The Penguins showed their own resolve in the second period, as defensemen Will Reilly and Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored goals less than six minutes apart to give the Penguins their first lead of the series, 2-1.

Hofer made a game-changing save moments later, kicking out the left leg to stonewall Sam Poulin on a breakaway bid with a chance for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to go up 3-1.

Springfield's power play then turned the game on its head when captain Tommy Cross unleashed a blistering one-time slapper through Nappier at 16:57, tying the game, 2-2.

Just 42 seconds later, Steven Santini found MacKenzie MacEachern at the offensive blue line with a home run feed, and MacEachern beat Nappier over the glove to restore Springfield's lead, 3-2.

Springfield's penalty kill was put to a big challenge in the opening half of the third period, and the unit responded with two clutch dispatches of penalty time to maintain the 3-2 lead. Nikita Alexandrov added insurance for Springfield at the 10:49 mark when he found a rebound off a Luke Witkowski shot and fired a turn-around wrister past Nappier to make it 4-2.

With time running down on the Penguins, Nappier came to the bench for an extra skater, and with less than four minutes on the clock, Hofer stopped a dump-in attempt behind the net. With time to settle the puck down, Hofer twisted his body and fired the puck the length of the ice into the open net, scoring the first goalie goal in T-Birds history in just the club's second-ever playoff game. The unassisted tally came at the 16:12 mark of the third period.

Witkowski would add one more empty-netter, shorthanded, for good measure to put the finishing touches on the victory. Springfield looks to complete the sweep of the Penguins on Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The full remaining schedule for the Atlantic Division Semifinals is as follows - games marked with an asterisk (*) will be played only if necessary.

Game 3: Sunday, May 15 - Thunderbirds @ Penguins, 5:05 p.m.

Game 4*: Monday, May 16 - Thunderbirds @ Penguins, 7:05 p.m.

Game 5*: Wednesday, May 18 - Penguins @ Thunderbirds, 7:05 p.m. - Click Here for Tickets

Thunderbirds' Pay As We Play plans are also on sale now! To purchase your seats and lock in your same spot for all postseason games, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.





Images from this story

Springfield Thunderbiards goaltender Joel Hofer celebrates his goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Springfield Thunderbiards goaltender Joel Hofer celebrates his goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

(Springfield Thunderbirds Media)
  

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