Hunt Beats Buzzer, Downs Bruins in OTJan 13, 2019
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - After falling 4-3 the night before on a last-minute goal, the Springfield Thunderbirds (18-13-5-3) squeaked past the Providence Bruins (18-16-6-0) by a final score of 3-2 thanks to an overtime buzzer-beater by Dryden Hunt on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
For the first time in the last two games, the Thunderbirds would not have to operate shorthanded in the early going. Instead, the T-Birds were awarded the game’s first power play after Anton Blidh was assessed a minor for slashing at the 8:29 mark.
After striking six times in the last two nights on the power play, the Thunderbirds got on the board first when Sebastian Repo tapped home a short range rebound past Dan Vladar at the 9:17 mark, his fourth in as many games. Hunt and Matt Mangene, who took the initial shots, picked up the assists on the games opening tally. It marked the Thunderbirds’ first 1-0 lead of the New Year.
28 seconds later, however, Gemel Smith took advantage of a giveaway by Sam Montembeault in front of the Springfield net and touched the puck into the yawning net, tying the game, 1-1 at 9:45.
Vladar and Montembeault then starred for their respective teams, denying chances at each end to close the first period. After tallying just two shots in the first period last night, the Thunderbirds outshot Providence 15-9 in the opening 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon.
Providence got their first lead of the game at the 4:52 mark in the second period when Karson Kuhlman centered a pass into the slot, where Cameron Hughes redirected it past Montembeault to make it 2-1 Providence.
After failing to connect on their second power play of the game, the T-Birds used even strength to tie the game at 2-2 eight minutes later. Off a faceoff win, Anthony Greco set up Jonathan Ang from behind the goal line, and Ang snapped home his third goal of the season at 13:32. Bobby Farnham picked up a secondary helper on the play, his 100th career AHL point.
Both Vladar and Montembeault stopped each shot that came their way in the last six minutes in the period as both teams went into the second intermission with the score tied at two goals apiece.
The third period was tightly contested with both Vladar and Montembeault stopping each shot that came their way. After 60 minutes, the T-Birds were tied with the P-Bruins despite outshooting their opponents 38-32.
After going just about the entire overtime period with no action, including an unsuccessful Springfield 4-on-3 power play, the Thunderbirds got their break to end their personal overtime drought. With seven seconds left, Matt Marcinew and Hunt marched into the Providence zone on a 2-on-1 bid.
Marcinew saucered a perfect pass in the middle to Hunt, and in one quick snap shot motion, Hunt threw the puck past Vladar before the green light came on to give Springfield only its second overtime win in 10 contests that extended beyond regulation.
With the win, the Thunderbirds leapfrogged into third place in the Atlantic Division. In their next game, the Thunderbirds travel to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, with puck drop at 7:05 p.m., before traveling back to Providence to play the Bruins on Friday for the fourth time in three weeks.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds 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.