Anas, Hofer lead Springfield in Game 1

Photo: Lucas Armstrong

Sam Anas scored twice and Joel Hofer made 35 saves as the Springfield Thunderbirds opened the Atlantic Division Finals with a 6-0 win over the Charlotte Checkers at the MassMutual Center on Sunday afternoon.

Springfield hosts Game 2 on Wednesday with a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Nathan Todd opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:47 of the first period before Anas converted on a penalty shot late in the second to double the Thunderbirds lead.

Springfield broke the game open with three goals in 2:37 early in the third period. Anas made it 3-0 in the first minute of the frame, and Mackenzie MacEachern’s goal on a wraparound at 3:06 chased Checkers starter Joey Daccord (19 saves) from the game.

Klim Kostin then scored at 3:34 on the first shot faced by Christopher Gibson, and Tyler Tucker scored on a shot from the center point at 16:03 to close out the victory.

Hofer (2-0), getting the call in Game 1 after Charlie Lindgren was recalled by St. Louis earlier in the day, earned his second shutout in his last three starts. He blanked Lehigh Valley in his final appearance of the regular season on Apr. 26.

Anas added an assist for a three-point day, Matthew Peca recorded three assists and Will Bitten and Brady Lyle had two helpers apiece for the Thunderbirds.

Atlantic Division Finals (best-of-5)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 1 – Sun., May 22 – SPRINGFIELD 6, Charlotte 0
Game 2 – Wed., May 25 – Charlotte at Springfield, 7:05
Game 3 – Sat., May 28 – Springfield at Charlotte, 6:00
*Game 4 – Sun., May 29 – Springfield at Charlotte, 6:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 31 – Springfield at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern