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Second Period Comeback Secures Point for T-Birds

December 2, 2018 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (12-7-3-1) saw their two-game win streak snapped as they fell in overtime to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (13-6-0-2) by a final score of 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.

At the 3:34 point in the first period, the Sound Tigers took a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game by Otto Koivula who took a toe drag wrist shot from the blue line and scored unassisted. The shot was redirected off of Thunderbirds defenseman Riley Stillman and into the back of the ne behind Chris Driedger.

Nine minutes into the period, Bridgeport tacked on another to make it 2-0. Parker Wotherspoon slapped a shot in on Driedger from center ice. Driedger kicked a rebound out to Tanner Fritz, who finished the play to give Bridgeport the two-goal edge.

After the second goal and only nine minutes of action, Geordie Kinnear removed Chris Driedger in favor of Sam Montembeault.

42 seconds after Bridgeport's Travis St. Denis was called for roughing, the T-Birds marched into the Bridgeport zone and were initially stopped, but on their second chance at the 12:05 mark, Jayce Hawryluk dug the puck out of a sea of bodies and wristed it into the back of the net to cut the lead in half, 2-1.The goal also extended Hawryluk's point streak to four games.

2:36 later, Bridgeport scored its third goal of the period on a right point slapper by Yannick Rathgeb, who beat Montembeault over his short side shoulder.

Despite being held to just one goal in the first period, the T-Birds special teams played well, going 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play. They also were able to tally 10 shots on goal.

49 seconds into the second period, Koivula tapped home a one-time feed from Josh Ho Sang from point blank range, making it 4-1 less than a minute into the second. That would be all for the Sound Tigers in the second period, however, as the Thunderbirds scored three unanswered goals and eventually knotted the score at 4-4.

The physicality also picked up in the second period with both teams being tabbed for a combined 20 minutes' worth of infractions.

Thomas Schemitsch started the Springfield comeback with a wrister from the right point that eluded Bridgeport goalie Jeremy Smith. Hawryluk and Sebastian Repo picked up assists.

Nearly halfway into the period and operating on another power play, the Thunderbirds got another one back as Blaine Byron snuck one past Smith from the right side at short range to cut the Sound Tigers lead to 4-3.

With 37 seconds to play in the period, Repo tied the game, 4-4, after redirecting a rocket slapper from Riley Stillman at the point. Hawryluk picked up a helper on the play, giving him three points in the game and seven in his last four contests.

In the final period, both teams were held scoreless despite back-and-forth action - Montembeault finished his relief appearance in regulation with 22 saves..

After the Thunderbirds got the first rush in overtime but failed to seal the game, Bridgeport's Josh Ho Sang marched into the Springfield zone and beat Montembeault on a breakaway double move, giving the Sound Tigers a 5-4 victory. It was Bridgeport's first win at the MassMutual Center since March 29, 2017.

Montembeault finished with 23 saves on 26 shots in the losing effort.

Following four days off from games, the Thunderbirds travel make their first trip to New York to take on the Utica Comets on Friday, Dec. 7 with puck drop at 7:00 p.m.

Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit

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