Cowley Clamps Down 1-0 WinFeb 2, 2018
BRIDGEPORT, CT – The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-24-1-1) made a 1-0 lead hold up for nearly 50 minutes thanks to a 25-save shutout from Evan Cowley in a victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (22-17-4-2) on Friday night at the Webster Bank Arena. The win was the first by a road team in the eight-game season series between the two clubs to this point.
The first period flew by in a physically demanding manner. On two occasions, there were scraps at ice level, with Bobby Farnham challenging Kyle Burroughs to a fight just moments after Dryden Hunt and Mike Cornell tussled, resulting in offsetting penalties.
However, Cornell's roughing of Hunt drew an extra two minutes, and in turn, it led to Springfield's first power play chance. The Thunderbirds' red-hot power play made sure Bridgeport would pay for it. After Curtis Valk handed to Jayce Hawryluk along the left wing wall, Ludwig Bystrom sneaked down the right wing boards into the circle, and he one-timed the feed from Hawryluk past Chris Gibson to put Springfield in the lead, 1-0, at 11:46.
The Sound Tigers would get seven shots in the first period with Cowley standing tall in the Springfield goal crease. His best save of the first period came moments after the first goal, as Steve Bernier made a similar charge to Bystrom and got the puck on his tape. This time around, the goaltender got the glory, as Cowley got across to knock it away up near his mask.
Cowley would need to remain at his best in the second, as the Sound Tigers outshot Springfield 13-6 in the middle stanza. The University of Denver product responded with 13 more clutch saves, including a breakaway denial of John Stevens with the leg pad. The Thunderbirds penalty kill was equally integral, turning away three second period power play tries for Bridgeport.
The Springfield offense would not do Cowley any favors with just two shots on goal in the third period, and the Thunderbirds sat back defensively in protection of the 1-0 lead. In the end, the Bridgeport offense would not be able to get one past Cowley despite some frantic plays near the net in a last minute, empty-net situation. Cowley picked up his third consecutive win in the process with his 25-save blanking.
Springfield's power play finished the night 1-for-3, while the penalty killers went a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening.
After the defensive struggle in Bridgeport, the Thunderbirds get another long recess before beginning a three-game, four-day stretch on Weds., Feb. 7 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the MassMutual Center. Springfield will look for its fourth consecutive win that evening.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.