Special Teams Pivotal in T-Birds Breakout Win at Providence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-3-0-0) saw their special teams break out in a breakout 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins (3-1-0-0) at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday.
Even though the Thunderbirds were only credited for three shots in the opening period, they took advantage of their first scoring chance to take a 1-0 lead just 1:08 into the game. Anthony Greco dusted off a loose puck on the left side and hit a streaking Ian McCoshen coming off the bench. With traffic in front, McCoshen let a wrister fly that kicked off the bodies and to a waiting Blaine Byron. With no one between him and goaltender Dan Vladar, Byron shoveled the loose biscuit into the net for his second goal of the season.
After that, the first period was the continuation of Chris Driedger's strong start to the season in the Springfield goal crease. Providence drew three power play chances, but the T-Birds penalty kill and Driedger came up with the answers in turning away 13 first period Bruins shots.
The third Bruins power play finally broke through just 20 seconds into the second period when Anders Bjork cut to the middle of the ice to set up a one-time rip from Peter Cehlarik to tie the game, 1-1.
Matt Marcinew gave the T-Birds an energetic spark when he dropped the gloves in a fight with Zach Senyshyn at the 2:27 mark. From that point on, the Thunderbirds outshot and outplayed Providence for much of the middle period. The Thunderbirds' power play then came to life to push Springfield to the lead again.
At the 7:37 mark, with power play time dwindling, Ethan Prow took a puck at the center point position and took a slapper through traffic. Joel Lowry stationed himself outside of Vladar's crease and deflected the shot past the Providence goalie to make it a 2-1 game.
The T-Birds power play would not be through, and at the 15:59 mark, Kevin Roy - who already picked up an assist on the Lowry goal - settled the puck in the left circle and cranked a slapper off the inside of the far post to extend the lead to 3-1 at 15:59. Prow picked up another primary helper on the goal.
After the Cehlarik goal, Driedger settled the defensive zone, stopping seven straight to end the period with 20 saves on 21 shots through 40 minutes.
Providence had four straight chances to cut into the Springfield lead in the third period, but could not do so successfully. Making matters worse for the Bruins, Anthony Greco ï»¿broke out of a goal-scoring drought, netting a shorthanded breakaway tally at 11:51 to make it a 4-1 game.
Bjork brought the Bruins back to within two with Vladar pulled at 14:47, but it would be too little, too late for Providence. Daniel Audette rounded out the Thunderbirds scoring by moving in on his own breakaway and beating Vladar over the right shoulder to bring the final score to 5-2.
Driedger's second victory of the night was another 30-plus save effort, as the Springfield netminder turned away 33 of 35 attempts in the win.
Springfield stays on the road in their next action on Friday as they get a rematch with the Hartford Wolf Pack from the XL Center at 7:15 p.m.
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 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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