Suffocating Defensive Effort Sends T-Birds to Victory

Jan 6, 2017
Providence, RIThe Springfield Thunderbirds (14-12-4-2) played a suffocating brand of hockey in snapping a six-game win streak for the Providence Bruins (19-8-4-3) on Friday night with a 4-1 win at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
With the Bruins entering action on a six-game winning streak, the Thunderbirds quickly showed they did not care what the statistical reports stated. First, Reto Berra made sure his end of the ice stayed stable by making a pair of dazzling sliding saves to his left on an early Bruins power play.

After Eric Robinson jumped out of the penalty box to serve a tripping penalty, he jumped up on the forecheck moments later to dig a puck loose, with help from Jayce Hawryluk. From the left circle, the Dartmouth alumnus Robinson then flipped a shot onto Malcolm Subban’s net. The Bruins goalie made the first save, but Juho Lammikko was left unchecked on the doorstep, and the rookie knocked home the rebound to give Springfield a 1-0 lead at 7:39 of the first.

As the period continued at a rampant tempo with no other penalties to speak of, the Thunderbirds took advantage of the next mistake. After Ryan Horvat put the puck behind Subban’s net, the Bruins goalie came out to play the disc. However, Hawryluk made life difficult for Subban, who played it right onto the Springfield forward’s stick. Hawryluk, in turn, fed Chase Balisy in the slot, and the Thunderbirds’ leading scorer finished into the vacated net to make it a 2-0 Springfield lead at 13:26. 

Despite being the team ahead 2-0, it was the Thunderbirds who continued to push the envelope in the second period, as they outshot the Bruins 11-6 in the middle stanza, but Subban bounced back from a shaky first to keep Providence within range.

Each team traded power play chances in the second, with no power play goals to show for either side. Berra again was at his best, looking through traffic in front to bring halts to play on multiple occasions. Berra’s save total rose to 14 through two frames.

The Thunderbirds nearly moved their lead to three at the tail end of the period, as Balisy rung a wrist shot off the post in the final minute of play. 

Providence would not go quietly to begin the third, as they finally struck on their third power play chance of the night at 6:40, with Alex Grant blasting a point try through traffic and past Berra to make it a 2-1 game.

With the Bruins knocking on the door, Tyler Randell then killed his team’s momentum by taking a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Mike Downing

After going 4:55 of the 5:00 advantage without denting Subban, Josh Brown then ripped a slapper that made its way in front, where Brody Sutter shuffled home the loose puck to give Springfield added insurance and a 3-1 lead.

With Providence attacking 6-on-5 in the final moments, MacKenzie Weegar then picked up his eighth goal of the season into an empty twine to wrap up the 4-1 win.

Berra picked up his eighth win and first of the new year by making 25 stops.  
The two clubs return to Springfield on Saturday to welcome Rene Rancourt for a special appearance and anthem performance, presented by King Ward Coach Lines.  The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET. 

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

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