Thunderbirds roar late, take Game 2

James Neal scored a power-play goal with 4.4 seconds remaining to give the Springfield Thunderbirds a 4-3 win over the Charlotte Checkers in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals on Wednesday night.

With Springfield ahead two games to none, the series shifts to Charlotte for the final three games (if necessary), beginning with Game 3 on Saturday.

Neal’s goal, his first of the postseason, capped a night that saw the Thunderbirds come back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits.

Will Bitten scored the equalizer with 3:05 to play after Alexander True had given the Checkers the lead back at 11:31 of the third.

Tommy Cross and Brady Lyle also scored for the Thunderbirds, and Joel Hofer (3-0) finished with 47 saves as Springfield was outshot 50-23 on the night. Lyle wound up with a goal and two assists, and Sam Anas tallied two assists in the game for Springfield.

Zac Dalpe scored twice for the Checkers in the opening period, his sixth and seventh goals of the postseason.

Joey Daccord (3-3) made 19 saves in the loss.

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 – SPRINGFIELD 4, Charlotte 3
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