Acciari, Bruins Bury T-Birds With Burst in 2ndFeb 12, 2017
(Photo Courtesy Providence Bruins)
Providence, RI- The Springfield Thunderbirds (17-23-7-2) ran into an opposing hat trick for the second time in three nights in a 4-1 defeat to the Providence Bruins (28-13-5-4) on Sunday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
After a rough start defined Springfield’s 2-1 loss on Saturday on home ice, the Thunderbirds raced out to a much better start on Sunday in Providence, registering the game’s first five shots and keeping the Bruins off the shot board until nearly halfway through the first frame.
A chippy first period, though, took the Thunderbirds out of their rhythm. A MacKenzie Weegar roughing minor gave the Bruins the game’s first power play at 11:37, and at 13:03, Tommy Cross buried the game’s initial tally for Providence, the Bruins’ seventh power play goal against Springfield this season, to make it a 1-0 game.
Before the first period ended, the linesmen got a healthy workout, as post-whistle scrums became the norm between the two division rivals. Providence drew a four-minute power play chance when Paul Thompson inadvertently high-sticked Noel Acciari as he was swatting at a puck near the slot area.
Cross would negate that power play momentarily with a slashing minor after a whistle, but Jayce Hawryluk then was caught for a cross-check in the period’s closing minute, giving Providence a huge advantage to begin the second stanza.
The second period turned into the Noel Acciari show for the Bruins, as the Rhode Island native scored a pair of even-strength goals separated by just 3:50. First, he parked himself to the right of Reto Berra and was positioned perfectly to knock home a rebound off a crossbar-ringing shot by Anton Blidh at 7:51.
Not even four minutes later, Acciari again found his way near the net, deflecting a Ben Marshall point shot over the shoulder of Berra at 11:41 for his third of the season and second of the period. The Providence College alumnus has scored all three of his goals against Springfield in the month of February.
Springfield could not get out of its own way in the middle period, as Berra himself was among the players guilty of minor penalties, but the Thunderbirds’ kill did stiffen, going 5-of-6 in the first two frames.
The Thunderbirds escaped a shutout at 6:24 of the third as Mike Downing patiently walked around a kneeling shot block attempt and elevated a shot over the stick of Malcolm Subban to make it a 3-1 game. Springfield finally earned a pair of power play chances following the Downing goal, but Subban and the third-ranked Bruin penalty kill preserved the win.
In the game’s dying seconds, Acciari finished off his first pro hat trick with an empty-net tally at 19:54. It’s the second hat trick given up by Springfield in three nights, after Adam Tambellini produced the same feat on Friday for the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Following this latest 3-in-3, the Thunderbirds return home to rematch the Comets on Friday, Feb. 17 for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will then march into Springfield on Saturday, Feb. 18 for another 7:05 p.m. ET start.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.