T-Birds Can't Solve DeSmith & Penguins in Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (10-7-0-0) unleashed a 41-shot attack on the net, but could not solve the stingy Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (9-5-1-1), who came away 4-1 victors on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Penguins wasted little time pouncing on an early chance as Andrew Agozzino cashed in on a rebound in the blue paint just 49 seconds into the game to hand Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 1-0 lead over Chris Driedger and the T-Birds. David Warsofsky let a point shot fly into traffic off the stick of Sam Miletic before finding its way to Agozzino.
Springfield would have a quick response to end a Casey DeSmith shutout streak that stretched back over 125 minutes, as Henrik Borgstrom maneuvered to the right side icing line before curling a backhand pass to the crease area. Blaine Byron parked himself there and slammed the feed in behind DeSmith to tie the game, 1-1 at 3:04. That goal came moments after Anthony Greco got turned aside on a breakaway forehand attempt by DeSmith.
After 12 uneventful minutes offensively, the Penguins got their lead back as Stefan Noesen moved toward the right wing wall, but simultaneously fired a 360-degree pass all the way through the slot to a cutting Agozzino, who one-touched it past Driedger to restore the Penguins lead, 2-1, at the 16:14 mark.
The Penguins gifted the Thunderbirds a lengthy power play in the closing seconds of the first and carrying into the first 3:47 of the second, but with almost two full minutes of 5-on-3 time, the scuffling Springfield man advantage could not break through, and the Penguins maintained their one-goal advantage.
After the Penguins finished off their lengthy penalty killing spree, they struck in 4-on-4 play to extend their lead as Joe Blandisi took advantage of miscommunication in the T-Birds zone, picking up a loose puck on the right wing and finding Kevin Czuczman at the left side. The rangy defenseman then deked to his forehand and snapped it through Driedger at 5:42 of the second.
The Thunderbirds were not lacking for shots and traffic around DeSmith, but through 28 shots in 40 minutes, they could not get a second one past the white-hot Penguins goalie. Included in those 27 saves was a breakaway denial of Owen Tippett, who tried to open up the five-hole to his forehand side, but DeSmith slid with his stick on the ice to turn the chance away.
Both teams resumed their offensive pushes in the third, and Driedger did what he could to keep his team in the game, making 31 saves on the night, but Springfield could not find the net as DeSmith finished with 41 saves for his third straight win of one goal or fewer against.
The Thunderbirds will look to salvage a win out of the weekend set as they visit the Binghamton Devils on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
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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