The team formerly know as the Portland Pirates had a rough go of it in their first year as the Springfield Thunderbirds, but the club did manage to finish strong, routing the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Hartford Wolf Pack on home ice on the final weekend of the season to complete a 3-0 homestand.
Thunderbirds 7, Sound Tigers 0
Jared McCann scored three goals and Adam Wilcox made 28 saves as Springfield blew out Bridgeport 7-0 Friday night at MassMutual Center. McCann opened the scoring with his team on a power play, from MacKenzie Weegar and Chase Balisy, 4:24 into the first period and scored twice more early in the second to stake the T-Birds to 4-0 lead. Balisy, Anthony Greco, Dryden Hunt and Matt Buckles also lit the lamp for Springfield. Paul Thompson had three assists, Josh Brown had two and Jayce Hawryluk, Ed Wittchow and Mike Downing added one helper apiece. Bridgeport’s Eamon McAdam surrendered four goals on 16 shots before he was replaced by Stephon Williams after McCann completed his hat trick. Williams finished the game with 15 saves.
Thunderbirds 5, Wolf Pack 1
Springfield won its final game of the 2016-17 campaign by posting a 5-1 decision over Hartford in front of a crowd 6,217. MacKenzie Weegar notched the only goal of the first period from Matt Buckles and Jared McCann at the 6:42 mark. McCann put the Thunderbirds up by two 1:26 into the second, with the assists going to Paul Thompson and Weegar. Anthony Greco bagged a shorthanded goal at 15:35 with the lone assist going to Mike Downing. Hartford’s Chris Brown scored a power-play goal 41 seconds later to get the Wolf Pack on the board. Thompson restored Springfield’s three-goal lead with a power-play marker, set up by Dryden Hunt and Weegar, with six seconds left in the frame. Jayce Hawryluk completed the scoring on the power play with his ninth goal, midway through the third, from Thomas Schemitsch and Kyle Rau. Adam Wilcox made 23 saves to get the win, while Chris Nell took the loss, finishing with 29 stops.
Springfield ended the season with a 32-33-9-2 record and 75 points, which put them sixth in the seven-team Atlantic Division. The Thunderbirds finished 21 points out of a playoff spot.
Chase Balisy led the the club in scoring with 45 points, including a team-best 28 assists. Paul Thompson led the T-Birds in goals with 19. Adam Wilcox, who came over from the Tampa Bay organization late in the season, was the team’s best goalie, compiling a 7-4-1- record, 2.02 GAA, .932 save percentage and 3 shutouts.