Bystrom, Hunt Push T-Birds Past CrunchDec 19, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - After being shut out in the first meeting, the Springfield Thunderbirds (15-8-2-3) rode a two-goal performance by Dryden Hunt, including one late in the third period, to a 3-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch (15-8-2-0) in a midweek showdown at MassMutual Center. The win is the seventh straight game in which Springfield has earned at least one point inside the Thunderdome.
Goaltender Sam Montembeault finished with 27 saves and picked up his 11th win of the season and eight win at home. Montembeault put together that performance despite being a last-second replacement in the starting net for Springfield. With the win, Montembeault now holds an 8-0-1-1 record at the MassMutual Center this season.
At the 9:13 mark of a scoreless first, Taylor Raddysh found the back of the net on a short range wrister that deflected off Montembeault’s right shoulder and squeezed its way into the back of the net. Raddysh’s 10th goal of the year made it 1-0 Crunch.
The game took on a strange delayed circumstance with 3:32 left in the first period when Josh Brown delivered a big hit on Troy Bourke that broke the glass on the inside of the scorer’s box area.
The hit caused the first intermission to come early as the ice crew replaced the glass. Following the brief break, the T-Birds and Crunch played the remaining 3:32 and then went right into the second period with the score still 1-0 Syracuse.
The physicality carried over into the second period as the teams amassed 18 penalty minutes between them.
In the midst of the physical play, the Thunderbirds pulled even at the 4:23 mark of the second. After Ludwig Bystrom sent a right point shot to the goal, it caromed to Bobby Farnham at the left post. The winger slid it into the paint where Jake Horton pushed it over the line to tie the game, 1-1.
Almost three minutes later at the 7:23 mark, with a power play advantage, Dryden Hunt wristed home his first power play goal since being loaned back to Springfield. Hunt’s ninth AHL goal of the season gave Springfield a 2-1 lead, with Matt Mangene and Bystrom getting the helpers.
Syracuse battled back, and at the 15:02 mark, their league-best power play unit tied the score 2-2 on a close range one-time slapper by Alex Barre-Boulet from the right faceoff dot, creating a 2-2 tie heading into the final period.
The two teams traded shots in the third period, but Montembeault and Eddie Pasquale held tough into the final minutes. Then at the 16:25 mark of the third period, Bystrom squeaked a shot from the left point off Pasquale and near the goal line, where Hunt escorted it over the line for his second goal of the game and 10th of the season.
After knocking off one North Division foe on Wednesday, the Thunderbirds will next look to avenge a 5-2 loss from earlier in the month when they face off with the Utica Comets on Friday night in another 3-2-1 Friday, which begins with live local music in the MGM Springfield Concert Series on the concourse beginning at 6 p.m. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.
On Saturday, in their second game in as many nights, the T-Birds take on the Providence Bruins in the first installment of the Saturday Night Trivia Series presented by Bobby’s Roast Beef. Saturday’s matchup is the first matchup between the two Atlantic Division foes since Oct. 27 in which Springfield defeated Providence 4-2.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.