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 Springfield Thunderbirds

Ex-Marlies & Ellis Dazzle in 5-1 T-Birds' Rout of Toronto

March 9, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

Springfield Thunderbirds on the ice
Springfield Thunderbirds on the ice
(Springfield Thunderbirds)

SPRINGFIELD Mass. -- The Springfield Thunderbirds (26-25-3-2) rode an Adam Gaudette hat trick to a 5-1 dispatching of the Toronto Marlies (25-19-9-2) in front of a sold-out crowd at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night in the team's annual Pink in the Rink night in support of the Rays of Hope Foundation.

A back-and-forth start to the game brought great chances for both sides early, with former T-Bird Logan Shaw getting a breakaway bid to crack the goal column, but Springfield goaltender Colten Ellis came up large with a stretching save with the right pad.

After Kieffer Bellows was sent to the box for his second penalty of the night, the Springfield power play didn't take long to capitalize. Joey Duszak located the AHL's leading goal scorer Gaudette with a slick pass to the right side of the crease. Gaudette, in turn, found the back of the net on a redirection past Wilbraham native and starting Toronto goalie Keith Petruzzelli. With the tally, Gaudette took sole possession of the AHL lead in goals once more with his 32nd. Springfield took their 1-0 lead into the dressing room, even as the Marlies had the 12-9 edge in shots.

Gaudette found himself in the right spot again as the second period began. After taking a drop pass from Mikhail Abramov in the right-wing circle, Gaudette found some daylight on the right arm of Petruzzelli, sniping it past the Marlies goaltender for his 33rd goal of the year to make it 2-0. Gaudette's second goal of the evening also gave the winger his 10th multi-goal game of the season.

The Marlies cut into the Springfield lead with 6:27 left in the period, as Alex Steeves managed to beat Ellis on a cross-ice feed from Joseph Blandisi to cut the lead to 2-1. However, the Thunderbirds found a way to respond just a few minutes later. Moments after Ellis made a monstrous blocker save on a Bellows breakaway, a Hunter Skinner slapshot found the twine off the inside of the pipe, giving the blueliner his third goal of the year and restoring the two-goal lead for the home team. The T-Birds took their 3-1 lead into the final frame.

Tempers flared in the third period, with multiple scrums and scraps breaking out. Despite the bad blood boiling between the two teams, the Thunderbirds continued to find a way to score. Defenseman-turned-forward Duszak notched his seventh goal of the year to get the crowd on their feet, as he perfectly executed a wraparound to the far post. The fireworks began to fly after the Duszak tally, with one of the Marlies players flailing his stick at Duszak after the goal, causing a small skirmish.

On the ensuing puck drop, Marlies forward Kyle Clifford challenged Duszak and threw him to the ice. Clifford was assessed a double-minor penalty for roughing and received a 10-minute misconduct for continuing an altercation, ending his night. Despite not scoring on their 5-on-3, the Thunderbirds patiently walked the game to the finish line, culminating in Gaudette finishing off his hat trick into an empty goal with 1:59 to go.

Ellis also continued his sensational evening as he stonewalled all 21 Toronto offerings in the third, bringing his game total to an AHL career-high 47 saves on 48 shots. Through his first seven AHL starts this season, the young netminder now has a sparkling .941 save percentage.

The T-Birds now hit the road to complete the three-game weekend for a Sunday afternoon contest against the Providence Bruins in a pivotal Atlantic Division matchup. The puck drop is set for 3:05 p.m. at Amica Mutual Pavillion.

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


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Springfield Thunderbirds on the ice
Springfield Thunderbirds on the ice


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American Hockey League Stories from March 9, 2024

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