Sound Tigers Survive Scrappy Tilt in SpringfieldMar 29, 2017
Springfield, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (27-30-9-2) vaulted to a lead in the second period but could not hold off the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (40-24-3-1), who scored the final two goals in a 3-2 win over the Thunderbirds on Wednesday at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds and Sound Tigers instantaneously came out of the gates swinging more than just shots. Before the opening 20 minutes could subside, the two sides had engaged in a pair of fights, and two Springfield defensemen had to leave the ice following big hits in neutral ice.
The scoring also started relatively early as Bracken Kearns beat Adam Wilcox on a power play deflection at 5:23 to give Bridgeport the 1-0 edge. Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock picked up the helpers on Kearns' 23rd of the year, his seventh against Springfield.
Springfield would not be on the mat for long, though. Just 4:07 later, on a beautiful passing play off a rush, Dryden Hunt was able to elevate a backhanded try over a fallen Eamon McAdam to tie the score, 1-1 at 9:30, off feeds from Paul Thompson and Chase Balisy.
The second period began, and while the rough stuff took a brief recess, the scoring did not. Playing in his first game after signing an ATO earlier in the week, former Cornell forward Matt Buckles gave the Thunderbirds their first lead of the game at 6:58 of the second. Matt MacKenzie held in an errant Bridgeport pass at the left point before flicking a shot to the near post, where Buckles deflected it past McAdam to make it a 2-1 Springfield lead.
The lead would not last two minutes though, as Josh Winquist tied the score off a setup from Tanner Fritz and Michael Dal Colle at 8:35.
Just 90 seconds later, Kellen Jones found himself alone in front of Wilcox, and the Sound Tigers took a 3-2 lead as Jones scored off assists from Ben Holmstrom and Andrew Rowe.
The third period began, and the testy nature of the game intensified. Things came to an eruption point when Jared McCann was whistled for a match penalty at 2:12, around the same time that MacKenzie Weegar and Pat Cullity engaged in the night's third and final fight.
Springfield would then have to kill a full two-minute 5-on-3 shorthanded situation after a delay of game penalty. Wilcox and the Thunderbirds responded admirably to the challenge, keeping the game 3-2.
Ultimately, the Thunderbirds would run out of time, and McAdam improved to 2-0 against Springfield, allowing just two goals in two games against the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds are back on MassMutual Center ice for a pair of promotional extravaganzas on Friday and Saturday for Pucks N' Paws night vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 31 and Boomer's Bash/Bobblehead Night on April 1.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.