Mar 2, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - After defeating Hartford by a resounding 5-1 margin the night before, the Springfield Thunderbirds (24-23-6-5) saw their good fortunes continue as they defeated the Providence Bruins (28-21-7-2) by a final score of 4-2 in front of a sold out crowd at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.


After the Springfield penalty killers continued their hot streak of late in dispatching two Bruins power plays in the opening 13 minutes, the Thunderbirds went to the offensive.


At the 14:44 mark in the opening period, Paul Thompson picked up a rebound off a loose puck that came off a shot by Jonathan Ang and snapped it past Vladar, giving the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead at 14:44. Thomas Schemitsch picked up the secondary assist on the tally.


Providence did not relent, though and got the goal right back when Paul Carey took a one-time feed by Karson Kuhlman and lifted it past Chris Driedger with 28.1 seconds left in the first period to even the score into the first intermission.


The tide of the game changed after Matt Mangene was clipped by a high stick, setting up the T-Birds with a power play at 11:17. On the ensuing man advantage, Mangene would make the Bruins pay, as he accepted a cross-rink pass by Juho Lammikko in the right circle and snapped it past Vladar to make it 2-1 at 12:52.


From there, Driedger was pivotal in the T-Birds’ maintenance of the lead, stonewalling Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from point blank range with less than two minutes to play in the period to keep the 2-1 lead safe into the third.


Seeking an insurance marker, Springfield got just that at the 8:46 mark of period three., Riley Stillman crept up into the play in the offensive zone, picking up a fortuitous puck in the slot area and wristing it past Vladar for the third T-Birds goal of the evening to extend the advantage to 3-1.


Providence would make the T-Birds earn the regulation win on this night, however, as Emil Johansson one-timed a shot off of traffic and past Driedger with 2:08 to play in the period to make it 3-2. However, it would be too little too late for the visitors, as in the final minute of the third period, Providence pulled Vladar in favor of an extra attacker. With an empty net lurking, Jean-Sebastien Dea picked up the puck up at center ice and lifted puck into the vacant cage to put the game away.


Driedger picked up his third win in four games against Providence and his second straight triumph overall, while the penalty kill improved its successful streak to 23 consecutive opponent power plays dispatched.


Springfield looks for just its second-ever 3-in-3 weekend sweep on Sunday when they complete a home-and-home with the Bruins. First puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m. inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.


Springfield Thunderbirds 2019-2020 ticket memberships are on sale now and include the best benefits of being a Thunderbirds ticket holder. To learn more about memberships and single game tickets, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).


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