T-Birds Offense Can't Find Touch in Road Loss to Phantoms
ALLENTOWN, PA - After defeating Providence Sunday on a buzzer-beater in overtime, the Springfield Thunderbirds (18-14-5-3) could not overcome a deficit halfway through regulation and fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-15-1-2) by a final score of .... At the PPL Center on Wednesday night.
At the 9:22 mark in the first period, the Phantoms got on the board first when Mikhail Vorobyev flipped the puck high in the air and into the Thunderbirds zone. Taylor Leier took advantage of a misplay and gathered it in before beating Sam Montembeault on a breakaway backhand. Colin McDonald picked up the secondary assist on the tally.
With under seven minutes to play in the first period, McDonald took an outlet pass from the defensive zone and broke into the Springfield defensive zone in breakaway fashion with a chance to extend the home team's lead. He went to a backhand move on Montembeault, but the T-Birds' All-Star netminder stood tall and stopped the shot, keeping the score 1-0.
After Chris Wideman took the first minor penalty of the game to put Springfield a man down, the T-Birds had a chance to equalize the score in the last minute of the first period. After a Phantom turnover, Harry Zolnierczyk got the puck on his stick for a clean shorthanded breakaway, but his shot attempt sailed wide of the target, and the 1-0 Phantoms lead carried into the first intermission.
Montembeault went into the first break with nine saves on his ledger, while Phantoms starter Alex Lyon needed to turn away only four shots through 20 minutes of play.
The Thunderbirds entered the second period with 1:17 on the Wideman penalty, but they were able to kill it off. That, however, did not stop the Phantoms from increasing their lead. At the 5:14 mark in the second period, Greg Carey took a pass from Reece Wilcox in the right wing circle on his backhand and quickly punched home his sixth goal in as many games against Springfield to make it 2-0.
Just over a minute later at the 6:32 mark, Mike Vecchione took a pass from Wilcox in the right circle and, with his momentum carrying him toward the goal line, the second-year pro wristed it over Montembeault's glove hand to push the lead to 3-0. That spelled the end of Montembeault's night, as Geordie Kinnear pulled his goaltender and inserted Chris Driedger.
The Thunderbirds received a jolt of energy and a power play when Josh Brown and Tyrell Goulbourne dropped the gloves in a fight that fired up both benches and the crowd inside the PPL Center.
Though Springfield failed to score on the ensuing power play, they would get on the board past the midpoint of regulation. After Anthony Greco drove hard to the net from the left wing side and got stopped by Lyon, Ryan Horvat fired a second chance off the goaltender before Jacob MacDonald tapped home the third chance from the blue paint on his back hand, and in doing so cut the Lehigh Valley lead to 3-1.
The goal was reviewed for possible goaltender interference after Greco made contact with Lyon, but the call was upheld for MacDonald's first point against the Phantoms this season.
Lehigh Valley took their foot off the offensive gas pedal in the final period, but the Thunderbirds could not break through a suffocating Phantoms defense, as Lyon stopped all 12 shots at his net in the final period. Driedger finished off a perfect relief performance with 13 saves on 13 shots.
The Thunderbirds continue their road trip on Friday night with a visit to the Dunkin' Donuts Center against Providence for the second time in less than a week.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds 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 www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from January 16, 2019
- Fritz scores twice in Bridgeport's third straight loss - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Admirals Fall in Manitoba - Milwaukee Admirals
- Sproul Wins It in Overtime for Hershey - Hershey Bears
- Checkers Blow by Bridgeport 6-4 - Charlotte Checkers
- Senators Beaten by Special Teams in Laval - Belleville Senators
- Young Guns Lead Comets to Victory over Crunch - Utica Comets
- Devils Collect Point in 1-0 OT Loss to Bears - Binghamton Devils
- T-Birds Offense Can't Find Touch in Road Loss to Phantoms - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Crunch Topped by Comets, 5-4 - Syracuse Crunch
- Griffins Ink Spezia to PTO - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Minnesota Wild Acquires Pontus Aberg from Anaheim Ducks - Iowa Wild
- Anaheim Ducks Recall Three from Gulls - San Diego Gulls
- Moldenhauer and Thomas Sent to Tulsa - San Diego Gulls
- Admirals Set Date for 2nd Annual Great Skate Event - Milwaukee Admirals
- Winter Returns Just in Time for the Great Skate Winterfest this Weekend - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Saturday's Game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Moved to 3:05 p.m. - Hershey Bears
- Saturday Game Time Changed to 3:05 p.m. - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Wolf Pack Ink Terrence Wallin to PTO - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Checkers' Annual NASCAR Night Is Saturday - Charlotte Checkers
- Hogs Return Friday for Fleece Blanket Giveaway, $2 Bud Light - Rockford IceHogs
- Heat, Condors Open Two-Game Set Wednesday - Stockton Heat
- Jets Recall Cam Schilling from Manitoba - Manitoba Moose
- Dallas Stars Reassign Right Wing Erik Condra - Texas Stars
- Drink Specials Tonight at the Condors - Bakersfield Condors
- Game Day Build-Up: Senators at Rocket, January 16 - Belleville Senators
- Game Preview: Bears at Devils, 7:05 p.m. - Hershey Bears
- T-Birds Road Swing Continues Wednesday at Lehigh Valley - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Texas Trip Reaches Tough Conclusion as Rampage Edge Hogs - Rockford IceHogs
- MacIntyre Gives Rampage 11th Straight Home Win - San Antonio Rampage
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Springfield Thunderbirds Stories
- Florida Panthers Agree to Terms with Goaltender Chris Driedger on a 2-Year Contract Extension
- Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa to Serve as Honorary Chair at World's Largest Pancake Breakfast
- T-Birds' Goals for Groceries Initiative Provides 14,100 Meals to Food Bank of Western Mass
- T-Birds Cap 2018-19 Season with Explosive 6-1 Win in Providence
- Greco Becomes First 30-Goal Scorer in T-Birds History in Sold out Finale