Sound Tigers Storm Back to Top T-Birds
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-25-2-0) fell victim to a spirited comeback from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-30-5-2) on Friday night inside the MassMutual Center, as Bridgeport came away with a 6-3 win.
On a night that saw three newcomers to Springfield following the NHL trade deadline, Emil Djuse quickly won over his new fans just 4:55 into his first game as a Thunderbirds, ripping a slap shot from the right side past Chris Gibson to give the T-Birds a quick 1-0 lead. It marked the first time in eight games that Springfield took a 1-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds had three power play chances following the Djuse goal to add to the advantage, but the Sound Tigers' penalty kill answered the call behind Gibson's 16 first-period saves.
Springfield outshot Bridgeport by a 17-6 margin in the opening period, making life relatively easy for Chris Driedger, who got the start in the Springfield goal crease in his first game action since being injured on Jan. 16 with the Panthers.
Another debutant made his presence known as Chase Priskie took a slick feed from Daniel Audette in between the hashmarks and beat Gibson over the glove hand at 8:52 of the middle period to put Springfield ahead 2-0.
Despite their record and offensive woes, the Sound Tigers were not willing to throw the game out the window, and in an 8:04 stretch, they stunned Driedger and the T-Birds with four unanswered goals. It began when Mason Jobst got in behind the defense before going forehand-to-backhand in beating Driedger at 11:11 to cut the lead to 2-1. Travis St. Denis deflected a one-timer from Sebastian Aho past Driedger just 25 seconds later to tie the game.
At 16:09, Kieffer Bellows beat Driedger on a scramble to the side of the net to give Bridgeport the lead. Oliver Wahlstrom followed that with a roof shot from the right circle at 19:15 to make it 4-2. Thomas Hickey picked up assists on three of the four second period goals by the Sound Tigers.
It took until the 14:12 mark of the third for the scoring to continue, and Audette picked the top corner for a power play goal from the right circle to cut the Bridgeport lead to 4-3.
However, the momentum was quickly quelled when Bellows got his second of the game just 49 seconds later to make it a 5-3 game.
After the Sound Tigers killed a late Springfield power play, Kyle Burroughs hit an empty net in the final minute to round out the Sound Tigers' first win in the last four visits to the MassMutual Center.
For more ticket information or to become a 2020-21 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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