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 Springfield Thunderbirds

Gaudette Pots 42nd Goal, But Red-Hot Checkers Prevail

April 13, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Springfield Thunderbirds (29-35-3-2) got yet another tally from their top goal scorer but could not get over the hump in a 6-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers (38-23-7-0) on Saturday night before the 18th sellout crowd inside the MassMutual Center this season.

It took Charlotte just 2:41 to open the scoring as Casey Fitzgerald spotted Patrick Giles at the top of the blue paint with a diagonal feed from the right point, making it a 1-0 game.

5:27 later, Ben Steeves, playing in just his fifth pro game, cashed in for his first AHL goal, tucking a centering pass home from the blue paint after Justin Sourdif dangled around a sprawling Vadim Zherenko.

Adam Gaudette announced his presence and retook the AHL goal-scoring lead. He rammed home a centering pass from Joey Duszak just outside the crease for his 42nd of the season, making it a 2-1 game at 13:49.

Period two began with Springfield on a penalty kill, and rookie Mackie Samoskevich made the T-Birds pay as he rifled a wrist shot over Zherenko's glove in the opening minute of the second to make it 3-1.

Gerry Mayhew added on just 4:50 later, taking a slip pass from Patrick Khoderenko to weave a backhander through Zherenko, bringing Charlotte's lead to 4-1.

Springfield's newest skater got the T-Birds back on the board at 15:58 as Ryan Smith crashed the blue paint to jam a rebound past Magnus Hellberg following an initial chance by Mitchell Hoelscher.

Down 4-2 heading into the third, the T-Birds could not get closer, as Will Lockwood fired home a wrister over Zherenko at 4:55 to make it a 5-2 game.

As the game dipped into the final minutes, Zherenko came to the bench for an extra skater, and Duszak got the T-Birds one goal closer. He took a pass from Gaudette and snapped a shot home from the right circle at 15:29 to make it 5-3.

The T-Birds then drew a power play with a chance on a 6-on-4 to take a bigger bite out of the lead, but the Checkers' penalty kill stiffened, locking up the Springfield power play and adding an empty-netter from Rasmus Asplund to round out the scoring.

The Thunderbirds complete the weekend on Sunday afternoon before their 19th sellout of the season as they welcome the Providence Bruins at 3:05 p.m. 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 www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.

-- SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS -


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