T-Birds Begin Lengthy Road Stretch in Providence

Dec 4, 2016
Providence, RI The Springfield Thunderbirds (8-8-2-2) begin a stretch of eight road games in the next 24 days as they visit the Providence Bruins (8-6-4-3) at the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 3:05 p.m. ET in the back end of a home-and-home series.
The Thunderbirds raced out to an early start on Saturday at the MassMutual Center, as just 1:50 in, after an early surge, Sena Acolatse fired a wrister that eluded goaltender Malcolm Subban to give Springfield the 1-0 lead and to bring about the first Teddy Bear Toss in Thunderbirds history. 

At the other end, Mike McKenna was not extremely busy, but he came up big following the teddy bear delay to stonewall A.J. White on a bad angle, point blank sneak attack bid. McKenna would only need to make two other saves in the entirety of a first period that saw the Thunderbirds outshoot the Bruins 10-3.

The Bruins bounced back in the second period and they did so quickly. Wayne Simpson finished off a wonderful passing play to tie the score at 2:32 on a power play. Danton Heinen fired a cross-zone feed to Peter Mueller on the left wing wall. Mueller immediately threw a slap pass in front to Simpson, who had time to deke to the backhand before beating McKenna.

From there, the Bruins kept pressing the issue, generating a rebound goal to break the deadlock at 12:13 off the stick of Peter Mueller.

The Thunderbirds, despite trailing heading into the third, showed little panic, as Paul Thompson won a race to cancel icing in the dying seconds of a power play, got to the puck in the right circle, and one-timed it over Subban to tie the game, 2-2 with 13:35 left on the clock. 

With nothing settled after the third period’s conclusion, Springfield and Providence reached overtime for the second straight meeting. At 2:12 of the overtime,  the Thunderbirds snapped their seven-game winless slide. Acolatse, already with a goal and a fight, fielded a pass from Mike Sgarbossa on the left wing side. With a Bruin watching him closely, and with his back to the net, he curled a behind the back, backhanded pass toward the crease. Shane Harper streaked to the post to guide the perfect feed in behind Subban to seal the Thunderbirds’ first victory since Nov. 12 in Binghamton. 

With 20 points on the campaign, the Thunderbirds sit three points back of the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings with one game in hand. Springfield moves on after Sunday's matinee to visit the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday before taking flight to St. John's for a two-game weekend set with the IceCaps on Dec. 9-10.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season 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).
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