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Thunderbirds Hang on for Preseason Win over Bruins

October 9, 2021 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds took an early lead and held on late for a 4-3 lead over the Providence Bruins on Friday night in preseason action inside the MassMutual Center.

After killing off the game's first power play in the opening four minutes, the T-Birds jumped to the scoresheet first. Just nine seconds after serving his own penalty, Mathias Laferriere stepped out of the box and carried the puck down the right wing. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted East Longmeadow native Peter Crinella, who filled the center lane, took the pass, and roofed a wrist shot over the blocker side of Providence goaltender Kyle Keyser at 4:09 to give Springfield a 1-0 lead.

From there, head coach Drew Bannister's team continued to carry the play offensively and with great netminding from 21-year-old Joel Hofer, who stopped all 10 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes. The T-Birds added some cushion to Hofer's lead at 17:04, as Tommy Cross opened himself up to a shooting lane from the right point. Hugh McGing parked himself just outside Keyser's crease and deflected a chest-high shot into the cage to extend the lead to 2-0. Keean Washkurak also picked up a helper on McGing's first of the preseason.

The second period saw Springfield continue to push the offensive envelope, but Keyser kept his team close by making 14 saves in the middle period. Hofer had a much quieter period at the opposite goal crease, but he remained perfect with three more stops in period two.

Early in the third, the Bruins chopped the Springfield lead in half when they finally connected on their third power play chance of the night. Jakub Lauko parked himself to the left of Hofer's crease and batted a Brady Lyle rebound past the Springfield netminder to make it 2-1 at 5:12 of the final period.

The Bruins picked up another power play in the final minutes and threatened to tie the score, but a shorthanded effort from Nolan Stevens and Matthew Peca bolstered the Springfield lead to 3-1 at 17:23. Stevens picked up a loose puck in center, raced down the middle of the offensive zone, drew a penalty but was still able to shuffle the puck over to Peca on the left side to push across the line behind Keyser.

After finishing the penalty kill, Blake Christensen added an empty netter at 18:09, which would turn out to be the game-winner after the Bruins got late goals from Eduards Tralmaks and Alex-Olivier Voyer in the final two minutes. Despite the late rally, the Bruins' efforts were not enough.

The Thunderbirds make their return to the ice for the 2021-22 season at the MassMutual Center on Saturday, October 16 against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Opening Night festivities will begin with a Pregame Block Party on Court Square from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. featuring a live music performance from Trailer Trash. The Thunderbirds' 5th anniversary season then gets underway inside the MassMutual Center at 7:05, and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative rally towel and be treated to a special pregame, full team introduction. Tickets are available online and at the box office.

For more information on the Springfield Thunderbirds and to order tickets, please visit

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