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Season finale of T-Birds spoiled by Wolf Pack

Springfield Thunderbirds

April 20, 2024 – American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds news item

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-37-3-2) concluded their 2023-2024 season against their I-91 rivals, the Hartford Wolf Pack (34-27-7-3), with a 6-4 defeat for a 14th consecutive sellout crowd at the MassMutual Center and the 20th total sellout crowd of the season.

Unlike the previous night against Providence, the Thunderbirds struck first. After putting the puck along the boards, Mikhail Abramov sent a quick pass to linemate Mathias Laferriere. Laferriere crossed the blue line on the right and wasted no time with his shot. He beat Wolf Pack rookie netminder Hugo Ollas on the blocker side to give the T-Birds a 1-0 lead at 6:15.

It didn’t take long for Hartford to answer Laferriere’s score, as Brennan Othmann beat Vadim Zherenko 57 seconds after Laferriere opened the scoring with a well-placed wrister from the left circle. Othmann’s twentieth goal of the year brought the score back to 1-1. Springfield nearly regained the lead later in the period thanks to AHL leading scorer Adam Gaudette, but Gaudette’s best effort of the period rattled out of the pipe.

At 5:56 of the first game, the home team found a way to regain their one-goal lead. After the Wolf Pack defensemen broke up a passing play, the puck found defenseman Matt Kessel’s stick. Kessel got on the puck and hit a slap shot past Ollas, giving Kessel his third goal of the season and making it 2-1 in Springfield at 14:04.

But for the second time the Wolf Pack answered, as Jaroslav Chmelar took advantage of a stickless T-Birds defender, driving wide on the right wing to beat Zherenko over the shoulder at 17:27, sending the match to a stalemate. -2.

Neither team could generate much offense in the first half of the middle period, but that changed when Jakub Vrana blazed past Hartford’s defense to drive into the crease, where the smooth winger tucked a backhander through Ollas’ legs to take the lead of Springfield to recover. -2, at 2:04 PM.

A T-Birds power play opportunity came and went without success. Worse, the Wolf Pack tied the game just 11 seconds after the kill when Othmann raced behind the Springfield goal line to play a puck for Zherenko before finding a trailing Mac Hollowell, who sent a backhander into the rope navigated to tie the line. the score, 3-3, heading into the final period.

Zach Dean put the T-Birds ahead again with a power play snapper at 2:50, giving Springfield its fourth lead of the night. However, the Wolf Pack held on and Sahil Panwar knocked down his first AHL goal at 9:58 to tie the game, and Othmann followed with a finish on a 2-on-1 at 12:04 to give Hartford the lead moves, 5-4.

Springfield had no more offense from that point on and Adam Sykora ended the night with an empty net at 6:36.

Fans can reserve seats for Thunderbirds hockey action in the 2024-25 season with a ticket membership by calling (413)-739-GOAL (4625) or visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.

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