Gudlevskis, Sound Tigers Thwart T-BirdsJan 24, 2018
Bridgeport, CT – The Springfield Thunderbirds (19-24-1-1) again saw their offense run dry, mustering a single tally in a 3-1 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (21-15-4-2) at the Webster Bank Arena on Wednesday night.
The Thunderbirds would have no shortage of offensive opportunities in the opening 20 minutes, drawing three power plays, including a stretch of 5-on-3 time late in the period. Despite those gift-wrapped situations, though, Springfield could manage only four shots in the first 20 minutes, and Bridgeport goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis stopped each shot that came his way.
At the other end, Bridgeport had only one power play, which came up empty, but the Sound Tigers dominated at 5-on-5. Just past the midpoint of the period, John Stevens took a pass from Kyle Burroughs and stepped past a Springfield defender before sliding a forehander through the five-hole of Evan Cowley to make it 1-0 Bridgeport at 10:19.
After their first goal allowed, Cowley settled down and kept his team within breathing distance, making a fantastic sliding stop at the left post on Steve Bernier to keep the game 1-0.
The Sound Tigers extended their lead in the second period by striking on a power play of their own. Taking the puck in the right circle, Travis St. Denis wired a wrist shot over Cowley's glove and under the crossbar to make it a 2-0 game at 7:21 of the middle frame.
After having four straight power play failures to start the night, the T-Birds would make their fifth chance count. After Ben Holmstrom took a minor penalty after a whistle with a cross-check on Bobby Farnham, the Springfield power play ended an 0-for-13 spell. Jayce Hawryluk fed the puck from behind the line to the front of the net. Anthony Greco had his first shot knocked back to him by Gudlevskis before shoveling the second effort into the net to end the T-Birds goal drought after over 130 minutes of action. Greco's 15th goal of the season came at 10:34 to make it 2-1.
Gudlevskis made sure the T-Birds would get no closer in the second period, as the Latvian netminder made an important save moments later sliding to his right to make a glove stop on Juho Lammikko.
The Sound Tigers made sure the Thunderbirds would get no closer early in the third when Josh Holmstrom stepped in front from the right corner and shuffled a backhander over Cowley at 4:16 to make it a 3-1 Bridgeport lead.
By the time the offense could get shots consistently to the Bridgeport, time had all but run out on the Thunderbirds on a night where they registered just 20 shots. Cowley stopped 21 of 24 in defeat, while Gudlevskis picked up his second win over Springfield in two starts. The Sound Tigers goalie has allowed just two goals in his two starts against the Thunderbirds.
After dropping their third straight, the Thunderbirds return Springfield on Friday night for a rematch with the Sound Tigers before welcoming the Providence Bruins on Saturday night. Both games will start at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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.