Thompson, Ang Lead T-Birds to Win on Indians Night

Jan 5, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – In front of a sold out MassMutual Center on Saturday night, the Springfield Thunderbirds (16-12-4-3) scored five unanswered goals to find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard, defeating the Providence Bruins (15-16-5-0) by a final score of 5-3.


The T-Birds would have to recover from an early deficit, as the Bruins got on the board first when Zach Senyshyn had an Austin Fyten shot ricochet off his body and past Chris Driedger and into the back of the net just 2:03 into the first.


With 4:12 to play in the opening period and with Providence on the man advantage, Cameron Hughes appeared to increase the Bruins lead to 2-0, but the goal was waved off with Driedger being prevented from making the save.


The rest of the period was even on both sides as both teams finished with 30 shots on goal collectively, with the T-Birds finishing with 16 to the Bruins’ 14.


The second period once again proved to be the Thunderbirds’ time to shine, as the team rallied to jump to the lead.


The first goal came at the 4:37 mark of the middle period when Julian Melchiori picked up a loose puck off a faceoff and wristed the puck home from just beyond the left faceoff circle, tying the score at 1-1 with Jonathan Ang picking up the lone helper on the tally.


After Hughes was penalized for interference at the 8:28 mark in the period, the Thunderbirds took their first lead on a power play goal by captain Paul Thompson, who tipped the puck past Providence goaltender Dan Vladar off a perfect feed by Harry Zolnierczyk. With his 15th goal of the season, Thompson tied Anthony Greco for the team lead in goal scoring. Dryden Hunt was credited with the secondary helper.


Thompson retook the team lead in goals when he potted his 16th of the season at the 18:09 mark from the right faceoff circle, making it 3-1 in favor of Springfield. This time Hunt and Ang picked up the assists on the one time slapper.


Just over a minute later at the 19:11, Ang wristed home a perfect feed by Ludwig Bystrom from short range for his second professional goal, giving the T-Birds a commanding 4-1 advantage into the second intermission.


Hunt was credited with the secondary assist and collected his third point of the game. It was also the third consecutive goal he had a part in.


At the 6:10 mark of the third period, Jake Horton gathered a puck behind the net and backhanded a pass in front to Riley Stillman, who picked the puck up and snapped it past Vladar over the shoulder for his first professional goal. Bobby Farnham was credited with a secondary helper on the play.


The Bruins got two goals back in a matter of 28 seconds, though. First, Jordan Szwarz redirected a power play slap shot through Driedger to make it 5-2 at the 10:44 mark. 38 seconds later, the Bruins cut the Springfield to two goals when Gemel Smith precisely redirected a shot by Chris Breen through Driedger’s equipment, making it 5-3.


The Thunderbirds did recover though to hang on for a 5-3 triumph, snapping the club’s six-game losing slide. Driedger finished with 43 saves in the victory.


The Thunderbirds remain on home ice Sunday afternoon for a tangle with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the final Sunday home game of the season. Puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m. inside the MassMutual Center.


Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit


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