SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (21-16-2-0) rode a red-hot goaltender and stellar special teams effort to a 4-0 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (13-21-4-1) on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
The first period started slowly, seeing the two teams trade power play chances in the opening 10 minutes, but with neither club generating many chances. The 0-0 stalemate carried through to the 16:13 mark of the period, until Joel Lowry scooped up a puck in the right circle and fired a shot through a Rodrigo Abols screen and past Bridgeport goalie Jared Coreau to get Springfield ahead, 1-0. The goal was Lowry's third in the last four games.
In the middle period, Lowry would be far from finished. After Springfield was whistled for two consecutive penalties, and with the bench irate over non-calls against Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers nearly tied the score when Travis St. Denis sat alone in front of the goal, but Sam Montembeault denied the shifty Sound Tiger on the doorstep. Moments later, Jack Rodewald roared up the left wing on a 2-on-1 just seconds after he could not beat Coreau on a breakaway bid shorthanded. This time, though, Lowry followed him and stopped in the crease to jam a deflected puck into the back of the net to get Springfield a 2-0 lead at 16:17 of the second. That goal was Springfield's eighth shorthanded tally this year.
With a 2-0 lead in tow heading into the third, the power play then got in on the action. After Dryden Hunt whipped a one-time shot wide, Owen Tippett blasted from the right circle, creating a rebound off of Coreau's pad. Paul Thompson did the work this time from the blue paint, shifting to his backhand and shuffling the puck home to make it a 3-0 lead at 8:26 of the final period.
From there, Montembeault made sure the Sound Tigers could not crack the door even ajar, stonewalling 10 third period offerings and getting an insurance marker from Hunt with less than 30 seconds to play.
The 4-0 win was Springfield's first shutout victory of the 2019-20 season, as well as the fourth of Montembeault's three-year career.
On Saturday, the Thunderbirds will look to end a three-game slide against the Providence Bruins, who took home a 4-3 win from the MassMutual Center in the clubs' last matchup on Dec. 27. Former Bruin and current T-Birds defenseman Tommy Cross leads all Springfield skaters with three goals in the five-game season series.
The T-Birds will be wearing vintage Springfield Indians jerseys on Saturday for the 3rd annual Blast from the Past Night presented by MassMutual. The blue and orange Indians jerseys will be the same ones that were worn by the 1989-90 Calder Cup champion Indians to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that team's rise to the top of the AHL.
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.