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 Springfield Thunderbirds

Gaudette Adds to Historic Season, But Wolf Pack Prevail

April 12, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

Springfield Thunderbirds' Leo Loof versus Hartford Wolf Pack's Jake Leschyshyn
Springfield Thunderbirds' Leo Loof versus Hartford Wolf Pack's Jake Leschyshyn
(Springfield Thunderbirds)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Springfield Thunderbirds (29-34-3-2) could not complete a three-goal comeback try, falling to the Hartford Wolf Pack (31-27-7-3) by a final score of 5-3 on Friday night inside the XL Center.

For the second straight meeting between the I-91 rivals, the T-Birds relented a first goal before the first media timeout when Riley Nash cleaned up a loose puck from the right side to beat Colten Ellis just 3:55 into the opening frame.

The Thunderbirds broke back even late in the opening period when Mathias Laferriere picked a Wolf Pack defender's pocket in the left circle and snapped a surprise shot that squeezed in past Louis Domingue at 17:27 to tie the score, 1-1.

The second period finally saw the two teams' power play units go to work. Ellis was the most important member of Springfield's penalty kill when he denied Alex Belzile on a breakaway bid less than five minutes into the second.

Belzile, however, got the last laugh at the 6:41 mark when he skated across the offensive zone to the right circle before letting a quick release go that tricked Ellis and restored the Hartford lead, 2-1.

The T-Birds' power play got its chance to answer in kind, but what appeared to be a game-tying goal by Mikhail Abramov on a baseball bat deflection was waived off on what was deemed a high stick. Despite a heated protest, the call stood, and the Wolf Pack ensured their opponent would not get any closer.

After killing the penalty, Hartford used some old-fashioned net-front traffic to extend the advantage as Jake Leschyshyn redirected a Nikolas Brouillard slapper through Ellis at 10:30, making it 3-1.

The Wolf Pack denied another T-Birds power play in the period's back half, and with less than two minutes separating the squads from the dressing room, Blake Hillman wristed a shot off a Springfield defender, fooling Ellis and upping the Hartford lead to 4-1 at 18:18.

Hartford's power play narrowly missed adding another one to their total after a fight between Hunter Skinner and Leschyshyn, which resulted in Skinner earning an extra minor for instigating. After the successful kill, Abramov ensured he got a legal goal this time, breaking in behind the defense and roofing a shot over Domingue's mitt at 6:34 to make it 4-2.

Just 1:21 later, Adam Gaudette continued his scintillating season, one-touching a Joey Duszak pass through Domingue on the stick side for his 41st goal. He reduced the lead to 4-3 with over 12 minutes to play.

However, the Springfield man advantage could not find an equalizing tally on their final chance just a few minutes later. After Domingue and the defense kept the T-Birds at bay, the Hartford goalie finished off the night himself, flinging a dump in all the way down the ice, past leaping Springfield defenders, and into the empty net with just 23 seconds remaining.

Springfield is back on home ice on Saturday night as the T-Birds host the Charlotte Checkers for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at the MassMutual Center.

Fans can reserve seats for Thunderbirds' hockey action in the 2024-25 season with a ticket membership by calling (413)-739-GOAL (4625) or visiting


Images from this story

Springfield Thunderbirds' Leo Loof versus Hartford Wolf Pack's Jake Leschyshyn
Springfield Thunderbirds' Leo Loof versus Hartford Wolf Pack's Jake Leschyshyn


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American Hockey League Stories from April 12, 2024

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