Thunderbirds rally past Rocket in Game 1

Photo: Lucas Armstrong

Matthew Peca scored 9:32 into overtime to give the Springfield Thunderbirds a 2-1 win over Laval in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.

The teams go right back at it in Game 2 on Sunday evening (5:05 ET) in Springfield.

Peca, the former Rocket, took a pass from Matthew Kessel and beat Cayden Primeau for his third goal of the postseason, giving the Thunderbirds their seventh straight win to open the Calder Cup Playoffs and their 11th consecutive victory overall.

Joel Hofer (5-0) made 41 saves for Springfield, raising his league-best save percentage to .965 during these playoffs. Hofer has faced at least 35 shots in each of his five postseason starts.

Springfield forced overtime with a late regulation goal, as Brady Lyle’s shot through traffic found the back of the net with just 2:56 to play.

Danick Martel netted his seventh goal of the postseason for Laval, opening the scoring at 15:11 of the second period.

Primeau (6-2) stopped 37 of 39 shots for the Rocket.

A2-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 1 – Sat., June 4 – SPRINGFIELD 2, Laval 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., June 5 – Laval at Springfield, 5:05
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 13 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern