SOLD OUT CROWDS SEES T-BIRDS ROUT BRIDGEPORTApr 12, 2019
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (32-28-8-5) thoroughly controlled the action on Friday night in a 7-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (42-24-6-3) before a sellout crowd of 6,793 inside the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds jumped out with a purpose in the opening period, drawing two power play chances in the game’s opening five minutes. Despite not connecting on those advantages, the T-Birds’ puck control and possession were magnificent, and just moments after the power play time expired, Jean-Sebastien Dea picked up his 11th goal as a Thunderbird in just 18 games to make it 1-0 on a one-time feed from Paul Thompson at 4:26.
Bridgeport answered back on a power play of its own at 6:16 when Travis St. Denis wristed a seeing-eye shot past Chris Driedger at 6:16 to tie the score, 1-1.
Despite allowing the tying strike, the Thunderbirds refused to let up, and at 16:30 on another power play, Matt Mangene scooped up his eighth of the season off a cross-ice feed from rookie Adam Rockwood to make it a 2-1 game into the first intermission.
After outshooting the Sound Tigers 18-9 in the first, the Thunderbirds started a bit slower in the second, as the two clubs combined for a single shot in the opening seven minutes of period two. Jonathan Ang helped buoy the Springfield lead when he danced around the net and found Ludwig Bystrom, who snapped a five-month goal-scoring drought by squeezing a second-chance howitzer through Jeremy Smith to make it a 3-1 game at 10:58 of the second.
Driedger and the Springfield defense bent but did not break in the middle period, and with a 28-16 shot advantage, the Thunderbirds went into the final period ahead by two goals.
In turn, the Thunderbirds exploded out of the gates in the final period. Thompson added to the lead at 3:41 with his first tally since March 8 off a set-up by Anthony Greco to make it 4-1.
Less than four minutes later, Greco tied his career high with his 29th goal of the season when he pinballed a center pass off Smith’s stick into the twine at 7:17 to add the lead to 5-1.
Jacob MacDonald then scooped up his third point of the night with a one-time cannon that beat Smith at 12:20 on the power play. MacDonald was the only T-Birds player with three points on the night.
After Sebastian Aho gave Bridgeport a second tally, Juho Lammikko drew a penalty shot at 17:54 with his team already down two men. He then raced in and beat Smith on the stick side to push the final score to 7-2.
Springfield concludes its home ice schedule on Saturday night when they host the Providence Bruins on Pedro Martinez Night. The action begins with the Block Party presented by Community Bank, taking place at Court Square from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., featuring a live music performance from The Kings.
Springfield Thunderbirds 2019-2020 ticket memberships are on sale now and include the best benefits of being a Thunderbirds ticket holder. To learn more about memberships and single game tickets, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).