Kessel lifts Thunderbirds to OT win in Game 1

Photo: Lucas Armstrong

ROSEMONT, Ill. ( Kessel’s first goal as a pro was the overtime winner as the Springfield Thunderbirds rallied for a 5-4 win over the Chicago Wolves in Game 1 of the 2022 Calder Cup Finals on Sunday afternoon.

The teams go right back at it in Game 2 on Monday evening (8 ET, AHLTV).

Kessel, a 2020 draft pick by the St. Louis Blues who joined the Thunderbirds after completing his junior season at UMass-Amherst, took a pass from James Neal and snapped a shot past Alex Lyon for the game-winner, his first tally in 29 games with Springfield.

The T’birds were down 4-2 early in the third period but got goals from defensemen Tommy Cross and Brady Lyle, the equalizer coming with just 1:28 to play in regulation.

Matthew Peca tallied a goal and two assists for Springfield. Neal had two assists as did Will Bitten, and Chicago native Hugh McGing scored the Thunderbirds’ first goal of the contest.

Jack Drury and Stefan Noesen notched a goal and an assist apiece for the Wolves, and Richard Panik and David Gust scored 17 seconds apart in the second period turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Chicago lead.

Charlie Lindgren turned aside 33 shots to earn the win for Springfield. Lyon finished with 30 saves for the Wolves.

NOTES: Chicago went 2-for-3 on the power play; Springfield was 1-for-5… The Wolves have lost three of their last four games, all in overtime… The Thunderbirds improved to 3-1 in OT this postseason… Starting goaltenders Lindgren (Lakeville North) and Lyon (Lake of the Woods) were both Minnesota state high school standouts in the early 2010’s… In Calder Cup Finals history, the Game 1 winner has won the series 63 of 83 times (75.9 percent)… Sunday marked the latest in a season (June 19) that an AHL game has ever been played.

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 1 – Sun., June 19 – Springfield 5, CHICAGO 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Mon., June 20 – Springfield at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 22 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., June 24 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., June 25 – Chicago at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., June 28 – Springfield at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 29 – Springfield at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern