Story By: Matthew Wiernasz
Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds
SPRINGFIELD, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds defeated the Belleville Senators last weekend at the MassMutual Center on Friday by the final score of 5-1 and on Saturday 6-1 on Hometown Heroes Night in front of a sellout crowd.
Martin Frk got the Thunderbirds on the board when he used the wrist shot to get it past Senators goaltender Luke Persseni’s shoulder who was making his AHL debut with 14:52 remaining in the first period to make it 1-0
Anthony Angello would have the Thunderbirds go up by two goals over two minutes later as Jacob Hayhurst and Drew Callin sent the pass to Angello. Angello would score with the backhand to make it 2-0.
Will Bitten would get the puck on a turnover and go five-hole extending the lead for the Thunderbirds to make it 3-0 with 7:14 remaining in the first period ending Persseni’s night and Logan Fiddell would come into the game for the Senators.
Keean Washkurak would score for the Thunderbirds in the second period but the goal was waived off as officials thought the puck was kicked in.
Angus Crookshank would put an end to Hofer’s shutout bid as he fired the one-timer 22 seconds into the third period for the Senators to cut into the lead to make it 3-1.
Keean Washkurak would respond as Bitten made the pass to him on the power play and he put the puck in the wide-open net to make it 4-1 with 11:26 remaining in regulation.
The T-Birds would go on a 5-on-3 penalty kill but Washkurak would score a shorthanded goal to make it 5-1 with 3:23 remaining in regulation. It was Washkurak’s first multi-goal game in the AHL.
On Saturday night, the Thunderbirds played in front of a sellout crowd on Hometown Heroes night. Before the game, long-time AHL referee Terry Koharski was honored as he was reffing his final game. Koharski was an official for over four decades and his career began as a linesman back in 1982.
There was no score after the first period.
Martin Frk would take advantage for the Thunderbirds 59 seconds into the second period as Matthew Peca made the pass and Frk shot the one-timer to score to make it 1-0.
Matthew Boucher responded for the Senators on a 3-on-2 rush and used the snapshot that went past T-Birds goaltender Vadim Zherenko to tie the game at 1-1 with 15:02 remaining in the second period.
Will Bitten would retake the lead for the Thunderbirds 35 seconds later as he took a shot from the right side that went through Senators goaltender to make it 2-1.
Matt Kessel extended the lead for the Thundderbirds in the second period as he shot the one-timer with the power-play goal to make it 3-1 with 4:21 remaining in the second period
The T-Birds would continue into the third as Mitchell Hoelscher scored as the puck went off of his skate and into the net to make it 4-1 with 15:26 remaining in regulation. McGing scored on the wrist shot for his 10th goal of the season with 12:43 remaining in regulation to make it 5-1.
Mathias Laferriere scored the fourth power play goal for the T-Birds with the setup from Peca as he shot the one-timer to make it 6-1.
The Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to six games last night as they traveled to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take on the Penguins. Matthew Peca scored the game-winning goal in the third period with 4:01 remaining in regulation to make it 3-2. Peca also had an assist in the game. T-Birds defenseman Brady Lyle scored two goals and also had an assist. T-Birds forward Matthew Highmore registered two assists in the win.
Thunderbirds goaltender Joel Hofer made 28 saves in the win for his team last night.
The Atlantic Division Standings is heating up. While Hershey and Providence are atop the standings, From third to eighth is only seven points apart as the Thunderbirds are in fifth.
The Thunderbirds will return to action tomorrow night at the Thunderdome at the MassMutual Center when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town for the final regular meeting of the season and then on Saturday, it will be Springfield Ice-O-Topes night when they take on the Bridgeport Islanders. Starting times for both games will begin at 7:05 p.m.