BRUINS RALLY LATE TO TOP THUNDERBIRDSJan 26, 2019
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (20-16-6-4) could not maintain a second intermission lead, and the Providence Bruins (22-16-6-1) came from behind to take a 3-2 victory on Saturday night inside the Dunkin Donuts Center.
The Thunderbirds got on the board first at the 5:30 mark when Ryan Horvat took a pass from Jonathan Ang behind the Bruins net and converted on a wrap-around jam shot for his first goal of the season to make it 1-0 Springfield.
After captain Paul Thompson was called for boarding, the Bruins took adavantage of their first power play and tied the game, 1-1, when Mark McNeill took a pass from Gemel Smith and one-timed the puck off the post and into the back of the net at 9:27.
After Springfield killed off a second Bruins power play, the Thunderbirds man advantage got their first chance at the 15:01 mark when Providence was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for too many men on the ice. The T-Birds power play kept the puck in the offensive zone for the majority of the power play, but did not convert. Instead, Dryden Hunt took a beautiful centering feed by Matt Mangene and wristed it past Zane McIntyre from the left-wing circle, giving Springfield a 2-1 lead just six seconds after the Bruins penalty expired. Ludwig Bystrom picked up the secondary helper on Hunt’s 17th goal of the season.
Sam Montembeault got the start on Saturday night after coming away on the wrong side of the scoresheet on Friday night in Syracuse. The 22-year-old Thunderbirds All-Star came up with his finest period as a pro in the middle period. While his team was outshot 23-3, Montembeault made each and every save to keep his team’s 2-1 lead alive into the third.
His best stop in the middle period came on a 2-on-1 with Anton Blidh one-timing a slapper from the doorstep, but the athletic netminder slid to his left to kick it out. Providence got two more power play chances in the second period and could not solve the Springfield goalie, but they did carry 1:35 of man advantage time into the third. With his efforts, Montembeault’s 23-save second period broke his own Thunderbirds team record for most stops in a single period of play.
At the 1:17 mark of the third period and with 18 seconds left on the power play, Smith took a centering feed by Jakub Zboril and wristed it past Montembeault from the right circle to tie the game, 2-2.
With the Bruins relentless on the offensive attack on a night when they outshot Springfield 45-25, Providence took their first lead at the 12:36 mark in the third period. Zach Senyshyn picked up a loose puck off a shot by Smith and tucked it past Montembeault, giving the Bruins a 3-2 lead with Zboril picking up the secondary helper. Smith figured into all three goals for Providence.
Montembeault took the hard luck defeat despite a 42-save night, while McIntyre won his eighth consecutive start, Incredibly, he has yet to make 25 saves in any of those victories, finishing his night 22 saves.
Limited tickets remain for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. The activities begin on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. with the AHL All-Star Skills Competition. For tickets, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com/AllStar.