Dea's Two Goals Not Enough for T-Birds in His Return to Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (28-27-8-5) could not break through in a power-play riddled affair, falling 3-2 to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (32-25-7-3) on Sunday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Both teams' power plays traded chances, and in turn, goals in the opening 20 minutes of play. On their first man advantage of the afternoon, the Thunderbirds connected for their 79th power play goal of the season. Moments after Ludwig Bystrom rang a shot off the crossbar, he took another bid from the right side. Even though it missed the net, the bounce off the end boards proved advantageous for Jean-Sebastien Dea, who jabbed the puck through John Muse to score in his first period against his former club. It was Dea's seventh goal in just 12 games with Springfield.
The T-Birds failed to connect on a second power play chance, but the Penguins would not leave their second power play on the table in the closing minutes. At 18:31, Sam Lafferty sneaked a pin-balling pass into a tight window in the slot area, where Sam Miletic redirected it through Chris Driedger to tie the game, 1-1.
Muse stopped 11 of 12 in the opening frame for the Penguins, while Driedger stopped nine out of 10, including a pair of firm stops on Joseph Cramarossa and Chris Summers with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton attacking shorthanded.
The penalty killers on both teams were the stars of the middle period, as the two clubs combined to have nine power play chances, but neither club's advantage could dent the scoreboard. However, after one power play ended, the Penguins did take their first lead as Anthony Angello took a stretch pass and beat Driedger on a breakaway backhander at 10:58, his 16th goal of the year.
Springfield started the third period on their fifth power play of the afternoon, and Dea made his former team pay one more time, unleashing a one-time pass from Paul Thompson through Muse just 19 seconds into the period to bring the game to a 2-2 tie.
The man advantage would have another chance to deadlock the game with eight minutes to go, but this time, Muse and Penguins penalty kill held their ground. With less than four minutes separating the squads from a fourth overtime affair this season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton broke through as Linus Olund hit Joseph Cramarossa for a one-time snapper through Driedger with 3:49 to play.
Despite last-ditch efforts with Driedger on the bench, the Penguins held on for the victory, handing the T-Birds their first set of back-to-back losses in the month of March. Driedger stopped 25 in the losing effort, while Muse improved to 3-0-0 all time vs. the Thunderbirds with 32 stops.
The T-Birds are next on the ice in Binghamton this Friday, March 29 against the Devils before returning to Wilkes-Barre to face the Penguins on Saturday, March 30. Both games will drop the puck at 7:05 p.m.
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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