TAMING THE SOUND TIGERS
The Thunderbirds topped the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Jan. 4 with a 3-2 shootout win for their second consecutive win and extended their home winning streak to four games at the MassMutual Center. Jayce Hawryluk made his return to the Springfield lineup for his second professional career game and his first game since Dec. 2 against Bridgeport.
Kyle Rau scored an unassisted goal to open the scoring for the T-Birds in the second period.
The third was a back-and-forth effort between the two clubs with MacKenzie Weegar scoring his seventh goal of the season for the Thunderbirds. Hawryluk earned the primary assist, his first pro career point, and Ian McCoshen earned the secondary helper. The Sound Tigers answered back in regulation's final 42 seconds to send the game into overtime.
After a scoreless OT, the two teams went into a six-round shootout with Jared McCann and Tim Bozon connecting for the T-Birds. Mike McKenna turned aside five of six Sound Tigers shooters and earned first star honors for his 28-save performance.
Recently loaned to Springfield on a conditioning assignment, Dylan McIlrath suited up in his first game for the Thunderbirds and had a highlight reel hit.
BRINGING THE THUNDER
On Dec. 30, the Thunderbirds concluded 2016 with a 3-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack. Anthony Greco was voted first star of the game for his two-point performance (1-1-2). Greco opened the game's scoring in the first period before Tim Bozon notched the second goal of the game for the T-Birds pushing them ahead 2-0.
Although the Thunderbirds got off to a quick start in the second frame, the Wolf Pack answered back with two tallies of their own to tie things up. Defenseman Josh Brown dropped the gloves with forward Chris Brown in a second period that saw a combined 20 penalty minutes handed out.
In the third, a shifty backhand pass on the rush from Greco found Jared McCann all alone against Hartford's goaltender Brandon Halverson. The 20-year old former first round pick buried the puck top shelf with a backhand deke.
Goaltender Mike McKenna made 30 saves to backstop the T-Birds to victory, earning his fifth win of the season in the process. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Springfield.
Check out the game's full highlights below, courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds:
A FULL 60
On Jan. 3 against the Guelph Storm, 2016 second rounder Adam Mascherin reached the 60-point mark for the second time in his OHL career with his team-leading 26th goal of the season. His 26 goals with the Kitchener Rangers this season rank third in the OHL, while his 60 points rank him tied for second. Mascherin is nine goals shy of tying his OHL career-best 35 goals. The 19-year old native of Maple, Ontario set his personal goal mark during the 2015-16 season. He is currently two assists shy of his 100th OHL assist.
JONNY ON THE SPOT
Jonathan Ang notched a career-high four points (1-3-4) on Dec. 29 against the Ottawa 67's. In the Peterborough Petes 3-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs on Jan. 3, Ang saw his impressive 11-game point streak (4-13-17) come to an end.
Panthers 2016 first round pick Henrik Borgstrom recently wrapped up his first World Junior Championship as he represented Team Finland at the tournament in Montreal/Toronto. Borgstrom has recorded 16 points (8-8-16) in 14 games with the University of Denver and is expected to return to action for the Pioneers this weekend.
Although Borgstrom finished the tournament with zero points in his six games played, his performance did not go unnoticed and was named Finland's player of the game on Dec. 31 vs. Switzerland.
Click here for the full PDF prospect report for Jan. 5.