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Thunderbirds reflect on Game 2 win, taking playoff run on the road

Thunderbirds reflect on Game 2 win, taking playoff run on the road
Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Springfield Thunderbirds clinched another big win Thursday night. The team is now 2-0 in the best-of-five Atlantic division semifinals with a chance to sweep the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

“It’s definitely pretty cool to be the first T-Bird to do it. It’s pretty special,” said Thunderbirds goalie Joel Hofer.

Fans packed the MassMutual Center Thursday night to see the T-Birds take on the Penguins. While it is the team’s first playoff appearance in the club’s history, there was another historic moment taking place in game two.

“…Happened pretty quick. I got it and then I had a lot of time, so I figured why not go for it and I got a lot on the shot and luckily, it went in,” Hofer explained.

Hofer fired the puck across the ice and scored with less than four minutes on the clock in the third period. It was the first goalie goal in T-Birds history and the AHL’s second ever made by a goalie during a playoff game, which Hofer told Western Mass News exclusively he didn’t know at the time.

Springfield Thunderbirds goalie Joel Hofer scored an open net goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. (Video courtesy: Springfield Thunderbirds)

“My family was all watching it online, so they were pretty pumped up and it was definitely cool…The celebration of the fans and the teammates was awesome and something I won’t forget, so it’s really cool,” Hofer noted.

It’s a moment teammate and Thunderbirds captain Tommy Cross said was one no one will forget.

“I think we will remember that as being Hofer’s night…It’s a skill to be able to do that. Not many goalies can do it, but he is confident and strong enough and skilled enough with the puck to attempt it,” Cross said.

Cross shared his excitement for how the series has gone so far looking to take that momentum to Pennsylvania.

“If you can play well in this series and play a good team, maybe we can do it again next round and then you were moving away through playoffs, so it’s natural to let your mind wander, but we also know that the future is a long way off, so you have to stay in the present and win this round. We’re just going to be difficult,” Cross added.

That decisive Game 3 that could send the Thunderbirds to the next round is set for Sunday. Puck drops at 5:05 p.m.