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Monumental Start by Montembeault Key to Victory for T-Birds

October 19, 2018 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

LAVAL, QC - In their first trip north of the border, the Springfield Thunderbirds (3-0-0-2) looked to pick up their third victory of the season against the Laval Rocket (3-3-0-0), and thanks to late goals by Anthony Greco and Paul Thompson they were able to do so, picking up a 5-3 victory at Place Bell.

One minute into the first period, Laval took the lead on the first shot of the game. The goal came off the stick of Rocket right wing Michael McCarron on a long range wrist shot that beat Springfield goaltender Sam Montembeault blocker side. Forward Alexandre Alain picked up the assist on the play.

Despite being outshot 14-4 in the first period, the Thunderbirds would hold the Rocket to just that one goal in the period. Springfield also killed off three penalties in the period, including a crucial 5-on-3 halfway through the frame.

Two minutes into the second period, the T-Birds equalized when forward Jake Horton capitalized on a defensive zone turnover by Brett Kulak and scored on a long-range wrister from the left circle to tie the game 2:12 into the second.

Six minutes later, Jayce Hawryluk was called for hooking and for the fourth time the T-Birds were forced to go the penalty kill.

After defenseman Maxim Lamarche threw the puck down to the left corner, McCarron picked it up, completed a wrap-around attempt and tallied his second goal of the game sneaking the puck through Montembeault. The goal gave the Rocket a 2-1 lead. Alain picked up a secondary helper on the score.

With just over five minutes to play in the second period, after Julian Melchiori was called for holding, Jonathan Ang scored his first professional goal on a breakaway on a patient tuck shot that beat Charlie Lindgren down low on the blocker side. The goal was also the Thunderbirds first shorthanded goal of the season. At 14:46 of the third, the Thunderbirds tied the score, 2-2.

Just 34 seconds into the third period, Blaine Byron picked up a loose puck on Lindgren's glove side took a shot that was initially stopped. However, after taking a second whack at it, the puck trickled over the line. The goal, Byron's third of the season and third in as many games, gave Springfield a 3-2 lead. Ang picked up the assist on the play, tallying his first multi-point game in the process.

With 10 minutes left in the second third period, Byron picked up a defensive zone turnover and attempted to pass it up ice. The pass was deflected, but Greco picked it up on a breakaway and snuck it through Lindgren's blocker side arm,, giving the T-Birds a 4-2 lead at 9:29 of the third.

36 seconds later, however, Alex Belzile tallied his first of the season from close range on assists from Kenny Agostino and Cale Fleury, making it 4-3.

The final nail in Laval's coffin came with 28 seconds left when Thompson was tripped up, but somehow managed to score into an empty net on a falling attempt, giving the Thunderbirds a 5-3 lead and ultimately their final margin of victory.

Montembeault finished with 30 saves to improve to 3-0-0 in his first three starts of 2018-19.

Up next, the Thunderbirds finish up their two-game set with the Rocket and look to complete a two-game sweep. Puck drop in game two is slated for Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

?Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit

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