SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Thunderbirds are now playing catch up in the Calder Cup Finals after losing Game 3 at home to the Chicago Wolves, 4-0.
Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals returned the AHL Championship series to Springfield Wednesday night for the first time since 1991.
A total of 6,793 fans heated up the Mass Mutual Center Wednesday night, willing their Thunderbirds to take a series lead, but Springfield’s attack remained ice-cold.
Game 3 went to the visiting Chicago Wolves, 4 to nothing, the first time the T-Birds have been shut out since December 17.
The power play was an issue for the Thunderbirds in front of a capacity crowd at the Mass Mutual Center. The Wolves converted two man-up advantages for the third consecutive game, while Springfield failed to score on all five power plays.
Chicago’s Richard Panik opened the scoring at the 14:50 mark of the first period. Springfield had the next four power-play chances with one in the first and three in the second period but failed to score on each chance. Ivan Lodnia scored with 6:25 left in the second period for a 2-0 Wolves lead.
Jalen Chastfield added a third goal for Chicago in the opening minutes of the final period. The Thunderbirds sent 11 shots toward visiting goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in the third period, to no avail. He recorded his second shutout in his last three playoff starts. It’s Springfield’s first shutout in 188 days.
That sets up essentially a must-win Game 4 at the Mass Mutual Center on Friday night. In Calder Cup Finals history, when a series has been tied at 1-1, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the Cup 72% of the time. Seats in the Thunderdome are sold out for Friday’s game, but MGM Springfield will host a watch party in the plaza, so there’s no reason to miss the fun downtown.
The puck drops for Game 4 at 7:05 p.m. Friday.