T-Birds Erase Two Deficits to Defeat CometsFeb 24, 2018
UTICA, N.Y. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (25-28-2-1) played a comeback role to extend their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 win over the Utica Comets (29-17-6-4) on Saturday night inside the Adirondack Bank Center.
On the night of Alex Grenier's and Curtis Valk's returns to their former home city, it was Utica that brought the crowd to its feet in the early stages. Just 2:18 into the first, Harri Sateri was a little late arriving to his post on the left side, and Comets forward Adam Comrie ripped a one-timer from a severe angle at the bottom of the left circle. It squeaked through the Thunderbirds' goalie to give Utica the 1-0 edge.
Besides that one shot, Sateri and Comets goalie Richard Bachman would be impenetrable in the opening 20 minutes. Bachman kept the score 1-0 with a couple first period dandy saves, including a point-blank pad denial on Jayce Hawryluk. At the other end, Sateri kept Springfield in it with his own stellar breakaway save on Griffen Molino in the late stages of the frame.
Both teams had one power play chance in a first period that saw two successful penalty kills and an even tally on the shot counter, with 11 shots per side.
Just as the Comets did in the first, the T-Birds' fourth line generated an early goal in period two. Sam Kurker picked up the puck along the right wing and flung a perimeter shot to the net. Bachman made the save, but left the rebound in close proximity to Greg Chase, who jammed it into the yawning net to tie the game just 3:54 into the second period.
Springfield's power play struggles would rear their ugly head, though, and Comets leading goal scorer Reid Boucher rifled a perfect wrister over Sateri's blocker at 12:50 to make it a 2-1 Utica lead. The goal was the 12th such shorthanded marker that the Thunderbirds have allowed this season.
Springfield would get a chance to redeem itself on a late power play in the middle frame, and while they would not score on the man advantage, they would generate offensive zone time. After the power play ended, Thomas Schemitsch arrived off the bench at the right point to accept a pass from Jayce Hawryluk. From there, the second-year defenseman slapped a long try that eluded Bachman on the glove side to tie the score with just 52 seconds left in the period.
Springfield would not make life easy for itself in the third, as they were forced to kill six and a half minutes worth of penalties, but during 5-on-5 play, the Thunderbirds got the only strike they would need to bring home a comeback win. Starting from his own zone, Anthony Greco accelerated through the Utica defense to get an angle to the net from the right wing side. The T-Birds' leading goal scorer added to his franchise record single-season output, scoring his 21st over Bachman's glove to make it 3-2 at 11:15.
With the 3-2 lead, the Thunderbirds killed a full four minute double minor before surviving a late push in a 6-on-4 for Utica in the closing seconds. Sateri made 31 saves by night's end to extend his record to 8-1-0 in his last nine starts with the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds return home for their next contest on Friday, March 2 as they host the Hartford Wolf Pack at the MassMutual Center for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.