T-Birds Tally Four Unanswered for 3rd Straight Road WinJan 14, 2018
Providence, RI – The Springfield Thunderbirds (17-21-1-1) once again saw their offense explode in the second period, and their rookie goaltender parlayed 34 saves in a 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins (22-12-3-0) on Sunday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Thunderbirds appeared poised to take a lead into the first intermission after breaking the scoring late in a tentatively played first period. Once again, the Rob Hamilton-Eddie Wittchow combination sparked the Springfield offense. Hamilton intercepted a pass to maneuver to center ice on a 3-on-2 rush. Wittchow filled the lane on the right wing, took the pass and snapped a wrist shot through Jordan Binnington at 17:29 to make it 1-0.
However, the final-minute blues would hurt the Thunderbirds in this one. First, it was Colton Hargrove, playing in his first game of the New Year, beating Evan Cowley on a breakaway to make it a 1-1 game with just over 33 seconds to play.
Moments later, the Thunderbirds were guilty of the game's first minor penalty, a tripping minor to Thomas Schemitsch. Almost immediately, the Bruins power play made Springfield pay, as Kenny Agostino unleashed a one-timer through Cowley from the right circle to make it 2-1 with just 11 seconds left in the first period.
Despite having every reason to be discouraged after the two late goals in the first by Providence, the Thunderbirds instead responded with a second straight marvelous middle frame. After piling up four in the second frame on Friday, Springfield got three in just over four minutes on Sunday afternoon.
It began at 11:06 when Juho Lammikko set up in the slot, accepted a feed from Maxim Mamin, and unleashed a wrist shot over the stick side of Binnington to tie the score, 2-2.
Springfield's power play then came to the forefront, creating offensive pressure and breaking the 2-2 tie. Though the goal did not come on the power play, it was set up by continuous offensive zone possession. With Mamin set up at the side of the net, Jayce Hawryluk flipped the puck to the big Russian winger, and Mamin immediately forced it through Binnington on the short side from the left wing circle.
With the 3-2 lead on the Springfield side, Bruins head coach Jay Leach had seen enough and pulled Binnington in favor of Zane McIntyre. But not even McIntyre could stop the Bruins' second period bleeding.
Just 1:15 after Mamin gave Springfield the lead, the Thunderbirds worked a puck into the blue paint and outnumbered Providence defenders before Dryden Hunt finally squeaked the loose puck past McIntyre to make it a 4-2 game at 15:40.
At the other end, despite some adventurous times outside his crease, Cowley shut the door on all 11 second period Bruins shots to keep it a 4-2 game into the third.
The Bruins kept peppering Cowley's net in the third, finishing the night with double-digit shots in each period, but the Springfield goalie earned his second career AHL win with a career-high 34 stops.
Hunt would add his tenth goal of the season into an empty net at 18:43 of the third to put the icing on the cake of Springfield's third straight road victory.
Springfield follows up their perfect 3-0-0-0 road trip with three home games over the course of the following five days -- a 1:05 p.m. showdown with Hartford on Monday, Jan. 15; a 7:05 p.m. match with the Hershey Bears on Wednesday, Jan. 17; and another 3-2-1 Friday against the Binghamton Devils at 7:05 p.m. on Jan. 19.
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.