T-Birds Battle Back Twice, But Can't Squeak By BruinsApr 15, 2018
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (32-37-5-2) battled back twice from deficits, but ultimately could not get by the Providence Bruins (45-26-3-2), who skated away with a 4-2 victory in the regular season's final game on Sunday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Thunderbirds maintained their discipline successfully in the first period after allowing seven Providence power plays an evening ago. They registered 10 shots in the opening 20 minutes through parts of two power plays, but once again could not solve Zane McIntyre, who was coming off his AHL-best seventh shutout performance on Friday.
Harri Sateri got the nod for Geordie Kinnear once again, and he answered the bell with 11 stops in the first period. Despite Springfield's efforts, though, the Bruins got on the board first in the dying minutes of the frame when Zach Senyshyn followed up on a Colton Hargrove rush down the right wing, crossed to the left wing side, and backhanded a puck underneath Sateri to make it 1-0 at 18:03.
Springfield began the second on a power play, but could not get one past McIntyre. However, they remained tenacious in the offensive zone and got a tally moments later when Dryden Hunt tipped a Thomas Schemitsch shot between the legs of McIntyre at 1:26 to tie the game 1-1.
The Bruins bounced back within just 17 seconds, as Ryan Fitzgerald found space behind the Springfield defense before backhanding the puck through Sateri to restore the Bruins lead, 2-1 at 1:43.
Not to be outdone, Hunt and the Thunderbirds again found an answer at the 12:58 timestamp to, once again, deadlock the score. After Mark Fayne moved down the right wing wall and picked up the puck, he fed Curtis Valk at the right point. Valk spotted Hunt in the left circle with a perfect slap pass, and the second-year winger elevated his 23rd goal of the season overtop of McIntyre to get the game even heading into the final period, 2-2.
It would not take long for the Bruins to jump to the lead in the final period. After killing the majority of a carryover Thunderbirds power play, Providence turned to rookie Trent Frederic, who raced into the right wing of the Springfield zone and beat Sateri with a quick-snapping wrist shot over the glove to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead at 2:17 of the period.
The Thunderbirds were unsuccessful in trying to tie the score for a third time, as McIntyre ended his night with 27 saves, and Austin Czarnik added an empty-netter in the closing minutes to close the season series.
The season may be over, but Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 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.