Late Bounce Beats Berra for 1-0 Bruin WinJan 14, 2017
Springfield, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-14-5-2) and Providence Bruins (22-9-4-3) went over 59 minutes scoreless, only to see the Bruins prevail on a bank-shot goal with 16 seconds left in a 1-0 win on Saturday at the MassMutual Center before a crowd of 5,017.
After the two clubs combined for nearly 100 penalty minutes last Saturday, the opening 20 minutes had a much tamer proceeding, with just two stoppages in play in well over the first seven minutes of the game.
Reto Berra created a tough spot for himself when he lobbed the puck out of play for a delay of game penalty at 7:43, but the Bruins, who scored three man-up goals in two games last weekend against Springfield, were unable to capitalize.
In fact, the Bruins could only muster four shots on goal in the full duration of the frame. The Thunderbirds then drew an advantage with less than two minutes left, as Mike Downing was clipped with a high-stick, resulting in a four-minute double-minor power play for Springfield, which leaked into the second period.
The stalemate carried into the second as well, as the Bruins successfully fended off the 2:51 remaining on the Thunderbirds’ power play to start the middle frame. As the two clubs started generating more chances, the goaltenders remained perfect. Berra made his best pair of stops in succession on odd-man rush tries by Sean Kuraly and Tyler Randell.
Later, off a turnover in their own zone, the Thunderbirds saw Chris Porter get a chance from point blank range, but Berra responded with a chest save. At the other end, Khudobin maintained his perfect percentage, working in tandem with his defense to kill off a Providence delay-of-game minor at the midpoint of regulation.
As the third period rolled along, the Thunderbirds threatened as the scoreless deadlock reached the final moments. Khudobin kept the net closed in finishing off his second consecutive shutout.
Late in the third, the Bruins earned just their second power play of the night when Josh Brown was guilty of a trip on Zac Rinaldo with less than 45 seconds to play. With just 16 seconds on the clock, former Springfield Falcon banked a pass off of Dylan McIlrath and past Berra for the game's only goal, Szwarz's ninth of the season, pushing Providence to a 4-2 lead in the season series. The win was Providence's seventh straight triumph away from the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Thunderbirds will not get the benefit of rest following the spirit-breaking defeat. Springfield immediately jumps back on the ice on Monday for a special 1:05 p.m. ET start time against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, a team that has defeated Springfield twice this season in Allentown, scoring 10 goals over those two contests.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.