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T-Birds Settle for Split in Charlotte

January 20, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Michael Kim (right) vs. the Charlotte Checkers
Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Michael Kim (right) vs. the Charlotte Checkers
(Springfield Thunderbirds)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (19-12-3-1) could not complete the two-game sweep against the Charlotte Checkers, (18-14-2-0) who rebounded to pick up a 4-2 win on Thursday night at Bojangles' Coliseum.

After making a plethora of monstrous saves late in Tuesday's win, Joel Hofer picked up right where he left off in a busy first period of action on Thursday night. Charlotte launched 11 shots on net in the first nine minutes of action and 16 total in the opening period, but Springfield's 21-year-old was big as a house, keeping Charlotte off the board in a first period for the first time in Charlotte's last four games.

At the 9:22 mark, Springfield went to the game's first power play, and the AHL's top road man-advantage unit wasted no time in vaulting to the lead. Matthew Peca and Nathan Walker combined to win puck control back to a waiting Sam Anas at the top of the left circle. Anas calmly stepped to the middle of the ice, head-faked, then wristed the puck past a helpless Billy Christopoulos to give the T-Birds the 1-0 lead at 9:25. Anas' 10th goal of the season also extended his season-high point streak to seven games.

Hofer remained locked in through most of period two, but on Charlotte's 28th shot of the night, Max McCormick was finally able to slip one past Hofer on a wraparound at the left post to tie the score with just 2:41 left on the clock in the middle period. That came just moments after Nikita Alexandrov pinged a shot off the post with a chance to give Springfield a two-goal lead.

After going 0-for-8 to start the season series on the power play, the Checkers finally solved Springfield's penalty kill in the third as Zac Dalpe ripped a slap shot up over the glove of Hofer just 1:17 into the third to give Charlotte its first lead of the night, 2-1.

The Thunderbirds' power play would be given a chance to tie the game some six minutes later, but instead, Carsen Twarynski - who had been stoned by Hofer on a shorthanded breakaway on Tuesday - beat the Springfield netminder this time around, making it 3-1 at the 7:39 marker.

With time dwindling and Springfield on a 6-on-4 with Hofer on the bench, Dalpe added the finishing blow at 17:58 for his second of the night. Mitchell Balmas would keep his goal-scoring streak alive for Springfield, chipping a Shawn Cameron pass over Christopoulos with just 13.1 seconds left in the game to round out the scoring.

Springfield continues its four-game road swing on Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. matchup in Bridgeport against the Islanders. The Thunderbirds return home on Friday, Jan. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 29 to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Providence Bruins respectively.

For more information on the Springfield Thunderbirds and to order tickets, please visit To learn more about becoming a Thunderbirds ticket member, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) to speak to a Thunderbirds representative.

Images from this story

Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Michael Kim (right) vs. the Charlotte Checkers
Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Michael Kim (right) vs. the Charlotte Checkers


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