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 Springfield Thunderbirds

Ellis Shines, Bolduc Tallies 1st OT Winner for T-Birds

February 17, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

Springfield Thunderbirds battle the Charlotte Checkers
Springfield Thunderbirds battle the Charlotte Checkers
(Springfield Thunderbirds)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (23-19-3-2) needed overtime for a sixth time in their last 12 games in Charlotte, and for a sixth straight time, they emerged victorious in a 2-1 final over the Charlotte Checkers (23-20-5-0) on Saturday inside Bojangles' Coliseum.

Colten Ellis, making his second start against Charlotte this season, picked up right where he left off from his 35-save performance on Jan. 26. The Checkers tested Ellis from all angles in period one, with the 23-year-old backstop answering the bell on 12 mostly difficult chances from the opposition. His best work came late in the frame, as Rasmus Asplund and Skyler Brind'Amour moved up ice on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Brind'Amour fielded a perfect saucer pass on the left side of the ice, but Ellis got a strong push across the crease and lurched out to stonewall the rookie's bid.

Adam Gaudette was responsible for three of Springfield's nine shots on Charlotte starting netminder Evan Cormier in the first period. Cormier kept the league's leading goal scorer from opening the offense, making a pair of blocker saves at close range.

Springfield's scuffling power play rediscovered success in the opening minutes of the second period to break the ice. After Mackie Samoskevich took a penalty in Charlotte's offensive zone, a simple approach got the T-Birds' man-advantage unit on the board. Dylan Coghlan found a shooting lane for a wrister that glanced off Will Bitten and the end wall. The puck ricocheted back in front, and after a BItten wave and miss, Hugh McGing was next in line to jab it through Cormier and hand the T-Birds the 1-0 lead at 2:04 of the second.

The Checkers' chances continued throughout the second and into the third. Springfield narrowly dodged disaster as both Samoskevich and Gerry Mayhew missed open-net opportunities in the final period. As Charlotte's shot total neared 40 and time started dipping under three minutes, former T-Birds head coach and current Charlotte bench boss Geordie Kinnear summoned Cormier to the bench for an extra skater and called his timeout with 2:28 to play.

Just three seconds after the draw, Charlotte had drawn even. Alexander True won possession to Samoskevich, who neatly faked a shot from the slot and delivered a perfect pass on the right side to Lucas Carlsson. The AHL's top goal-scoring defenseman rifled it under Ellis to tie the score, 1-1, on his 14th goal of the season.

Springfield's task became even more daunting when a penalty forced the T-Birds to have to kill off the final 1:28 of regulation down a player. Fortunately, Ellis and the penalty-killing unit answered the bell on their first and only showing of the evening.

After relative quiet in the first three minutes of overtime, Springfield finally turned up the offensive throttle to find a win. Zachary Bolduc worked a perfect neutral zone give-and-go with Hunter Skinner, allowing Bolduc to break in down the left wing on a breakaway. With only Cormier to beat, the rookie slipped a perfect backhander under the netminder's legs to give Springfield the 2-1 win on his first career overtime goal as a pro.

Springfield looks to complete the weekend sweep of the Checkers on Sunday in a 4:00 p.m. rematch between the two clubs before heading home for back-to-back home ice contests on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 against Hartford and Providence respectively.

Fans can reserve seats for Thunderbirds hockey action throughout the 2023-24 season by calling (413)-739-GOAL (4625) or visiting

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Springfield Thunderbirds battle the Charlotte Checkers
Springfield Thunderbirds battle the Charlotte Checkers


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