T-Birds Come Up Short vs. BruinsOct 20, 2017
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (0-5-0-0) succumbed to a shorthanded blitz in the second, and the Providence Bruins (3-1-0-0) came away with a 5-2 win on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
Springfield had an opportunity to jump to an early lead thanks to an opening minute penalty to Bruins captain Tommy Cross. However, as has been a struggle in the early season, the power play for the Thunderbirds could not get anything set up and the Bruins fended off the early scare.
The Thunderbirds would get a second power play chance later in the period when Austin Czarnik took a slashing minor. The Bruins penalty kill, which entered play nearly perfect on its season at 90%, was successful in killing another Springfield man advantage to preserve the tie.
While shorthanded, it was the Bruins who generated the most dangerous look of the period. After a Mike Downing clear hit a referee, the puck skittered into the slot for Jordan Szwarz. The Bruins center wasted little time snapping a wrist shot on net that eluded Sam Montembeault but caught iron.
Moments later, at the opposite end of the ice, the Thunderbirds seemed to have a perfectly constructed goal-scoring play. Defenseman Mathieu Brodeur was unchecked as he sneaked into the left wing circle and took a cross-ice feed. However, the veteran defenseman could not get a clean shot off, and the try missed the target with Providence goaltender Jordan Binnington well out of position.
Springfield outshot Providence 8-6 in the quiet first period, as Binnington and Montembeault turned aside all that came their way.
The Bruins continued to gift-wrap chances to Springfield in the second, including a Justin Hickman hooking minor at 7:20. However, instead of the Thunderbirds, it was the Bruins who found special teams success. On a delayed Springfield minor penalty, Chris Breen jumped up from the defense for the Bruins and found Danton Heinen in the right circle. Rather than shoot on goal, Heinen picked up his head and found Jordan Szwarz at the left post, and the former Springfield Falcon had an easy slam dunk to give Providence a 1-0 lead at 7:40.
The shorthanded Bruins were not done creating havoc, though. Just under six minutes later, Heinen was back at the scene, as he intercepted a Jayce Hawryluk drop pass and dashed the other way, beating Montembeault on a backhander to give Providence a 2-0 lead at 13:38.
Heinen found himself directly involved in a third Providence goal of the period, as Szwarz dropped a pass to him in the slot area. Rather than shoot haphazardly, Heinen noticed Austin Czarnik filling the lane behind him. Heinen laid it right in Czarnik's wheelhouse, and the Bruins ballooned their lead to 3-0 at 17:01.
With a power play to start the third, the Bruins struck in the other special teams discipline as Szwarz tapped home another tic-tac-toe passing play from Heinen to extend the lead to 4-0.
Heinen, Szwarz and Czarnik would combine for five goals and five assists by night's end, despite the best efforts of Dryden Hunt and Ryan Horvat, who each scored their first goals of the season in the third for Springfield. In the loss, Curtis Valk extended his assist streak to four games.
The Thunderbirds travel to Syracuse for a battle with the defending Eastern Conference champion Crunch on Saturday night for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop. The Thunderbirds then return home on Sunday for a Friendly's Sundae Funday matinee against the Belleville Senators at 3:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and Thunderbirds Full Season Ticket Members receive the most benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug and a commemorative jersey. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visitwww.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.