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In the Pipeline: Springfield Sweeps the Weekend

by Mike Lewis / FloridaPanthers.com

The Springfield Thunderbirds enter the week on a three-game winning streak after collecting wins against the Utica Comets, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hartford Wolf Pack this past weekend. With the three wins, the Thunderbirds swept a three-in-three weekend series for the first time.

DOWNING THE COMETS

The T-Birds started the weekend off in a big way topping the Utica Comets with a 5-2 win. In the first period, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar opened the game's scoring with his 11th goal of the season. Utica tied the game in the first frame, but the Thunderbirds took off in the second, scoring three goals in three different ways. Chase Balisy scored a power play goal, to put the T-Birds ahead. Shane Harper followed up by scoring the game-winner at even strength and Juho Lammikko lit the lamp with a shorthanded goal.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Nothing like a little special teams at home. #TbirdsAHL pic.twitter.com/EOIjFJkSCb

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Harper had the whole net but only needed a corner. #TbirdsAHL pic.twitter.com/TV4rV0dtPx

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: GOAL!!����: T-Birds get a short handed goal making it 4-1. Scored by Lammikko, assisted by Rau. @UticaComets

Paul Thompson scored the game's final goal and the Thunderbirds' fifth goal. Ryan Horvat notched three assists in the contest and Weegar recorded two points (1-1-2) to be named the game's first star.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Full Highlights and interviews from the Thunderbirds' 5-2 win over the @UticaComets https://t.co/QXmumL5vSc pic.twitter.com/mjqzeicYf8

TWO WINS IN A ROW

24 hours after their win over Utica, Springfield defeated the first-place Penguins 2-1 at the MassMutual Center.
Jared McCann scored his fifth goal of the season on the power play to put the Thunderbirds ahead 1-0 in the second period.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Jared McCann made this Power Play count. #TbirdsAHL pic.twitter.com/5FaFC89n1G

The Penguins were able to tie the game at 7:57 of the third period, but just under four minutes later Lammikko found a rebound from a Weegar point-shot to score the game-winning goal. Lammikko's two-game goal streak marked the second time this season that the Finnish rookie had scored in back-to-back games.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: We believe it's pronounced Ju-goal. #TbirdsAHL pic.twitter.com/ArslR8CwQL

Reto Berra made 34 saves to secure the win for the T-Birds.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Full highlights from last night's 2-1 victory over the @WBSPenguins. #TbirdsAHL https://t.co/h0KtHz6KP2 pic.twitter.com/mDyPZb0VCW

Tweet from @RyanSmithHockey: . @thunderbirdsahl going for first-ever 3-in-3 sweep in Hartford at 5 ET. McKenna/Berra were huge reasons for first 2 W's.

COMPLETING THE SWEEP

The Thunderbirds closed out their weekend with a 4-2 win over their division rivals, the Wolf Pack. Weegar and Sena Acolatse scored in the first period before Denis Malgin scored in the second to put the T-Birds ahead 3-2.
McCann connected with his second goal in two games to seal the game for the Thunderbirds.

With the Thunderbirds recording their first-ever three games in three days sweep, there was another milestone moment with the conclusion of the game as Goaltender Mike McKenna won his 200th AHL game.

McKenna made 24 saves to earn win number 200 of his AHL career, becoming only the 15th goaltender in history to reach the 200-win mark.

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: FINAL: A historic night in Hartford for @MikeMcKenna56: the 15th goalie in @TheAHL history to reach 200 wins. pic.twitter.com/VNakO8e1GE

Tweet from @MikeMcKenna56: Oh what a night! Great weekend for the @thunderbirdsahl pic.twitter.com/b65yEbcUDk

Tweet from @thunderbirdsahl: Congrats @MikeMcKenna56 on his 200th @TheAHL victory! #TbirdsAHL pic.twitter.com/KEzdsiQlVz

WEEKEND WARRIORS

Over the weekend:

• 2017 AHL All-Star MacKenzie Weegar recorded four points (2-2-4).

• Jared McCann and Juho Lammikko both scored two goals and recorded one assist (2-1-3).

• Chase Balisy (1-1-2), Shane Harper (1-1-2), Jayce Hawryluk (0-2-2), Denis Malgin (1-1-2), Ian McCoshen (0-2-2) and Kyle Rau (0-2-2) each posted two points.

• Mike McKenna made 56 saves and posted a .933 save percentage over two games.

NEXT UP

Springfield is set to host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Wolfpack this weekend before traveling for a Sunday matinee match-up against the Providence Bruins.

Click here for the Full Prospect Report for Feb. 21.

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