Bednard Brilliant to Earn 4-1 T-Birds Win in AHL Debut
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-18-2-0) exploded for a three-goal third period to upend the Syracuse Crunch (18-18-2-2) by a final score of 4-1 on Friday night at the War Memorial Arena.
In a battle of two defenses trying to regain their form, both offenses took advantage to get on the board in the opening period. On just their second shot of the night, the T-Birds jumped to the lead first as Ethan Prow joined a rush from his defense spot, accepted a feed in the high slot from Daniel Audette, and snapped a wrister over the glove of Syracuse starting goalie Spencer Martin to make it a 1-0 Springfield lead at 7:21 of the first.
From there, Syracuse held a steady advantage in shots, with 13 in the opening to period as opposed to just five for Springfield. The Crunch's fourth line eventually got the game even at 11:51, as Dennis Yan parked himself at the top of the crease, took a feed from the trapezoid by Otto Somppi and stuffed it home to tie the score, 1-1.
That would be the only blemish of the opening period on the record of Springfield rookie goaltender Ryan Bednard, who was making his AHL debut in the crease. He stopped a dozen Syracuse attempts in the first period.
It took until the 3:05 mark of the second for there to be a power play, but the Crunch could not take advantage of Springfield's too many men minor penalty. Springfield also would get a power play chance to crack the 1-1 deadlock, but they failed to get an attempt on Martin's goal after Dominik Masin was whistled for a trip at 13:42.
Bednard continued to be the busiest man on the ice in the second period, with another 13 shots coming his way, but once again, the 22-year-old newcomer would not back down, and the stalemate carried into the final period.
After being outshot by a 26-10 margin through 40 minutes, the T-Birds came out firing from all angles in the third, and Owen Tippett broke the tie from the left circle on a one-timer set up by Thomas Schemitsch at 7:04. Tippett's third game-winner in the last four T-Birds triumphs was his 16th goal of his rookie season.
75 seconds later, Audette picked up his second point of the night with a seeing-eye wrist shot that got through everybody at 8:19 to beat Martin.
The Crunch got aggressive with pulling their goaltender, summoning Martin to the bench with still 4:43 on the clock, but Bednard's sensational debut ended in grand style, stopping all 11 shots he faced in the third to cap a 36-save spectacular.
Springfield has now won five of its last six road games, and the T-Birds get a deserved Saturday off before a rematch in Providence on Sunday against the Bruins. Puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m.
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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