T-Birds Come Away with a Point in Roller-Coaster Night vs. Bruins
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-13-1-0) battled back from a second intermission deficit to take a point from the Providence Bruins (17-9-1-2) in a 5-4 Providence overtime win on Saturday night inside the MassMutual Center.
Former Bruin Tommy Cross jumped out to a red-hot start just 5:00 into the opening period, as Jayce Hawryluk set him up on a rink-wide feed from left circle to right circle in the offensive zone. Cross immediately let a wrister fly that tickled the twine in the top shelf, beating Max Lagace to give Springfield the 1-0 advantage.
Providence's penalty kill proved to be its best asset in bouncing back from goals in the opening period, as Jack Studnicka picked up a shorthanded goal, sneaking a forehand shot through Philippe Desrosiers at 5:45 to tie the game on the rookie's 11th goal of the season.
Cross was not finished, though, and on the same T-Birds power play, the longtime Bruin found a lane toward the net on the left wing side and slapped the puck through Lagace at 6:18 to restore the T-Birds lead, 2-1.
The Bruins responded one more time while shorthanded at 14:56, as Trent Frederic took his time with a 2-on-1 advantage to snap a wrist shot through Desrosiers' blocker side to tie the game, 2-2.
Each team kept the opponent's goalie busy, as Providence threw 18 pucks on Desrosiers, while the T-Birds launched 11 in Lagace's direction.
Both teams kept the offense going with no hesitation to start the second. Robert Lantosi got the Bruins their first lead at 1:51 as he picked up a rebound in a race to the net to beat Desrosiers to make it a 3-2 game.
T-Birds captain Paul Thompson took little time to get the game back even as he beat Lagace on the glove side on a breakaway snap shot at 2:04 to tie things up, 3-3.
For almost ten minutes, defense finally reigned supreme, but after the Bruins drew their third power play chance on a Jack Rodewald goalie interference penalty, Providence finally solved the Springfield PK with Peter Cehlarik one-timing a cross-ice pass from Lantosi through Desrosiers to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead, which would hold up heading into the third.
With both teams pushing one another in a literal and figurative sense, the third period produced post-whistle fireworks at just about every stoppage in play. When Brady Keeper and Jeremy Lauzon took matching minor penalties, 4-on-4 hockey ensued and at 9:52, Aleksi Saarela danced into the offensive end on the right wing, cut to the net on his backhand, then shuffled a forehand shot into the top shelf to tie the game and eventually force the 4-4 game into overtime.
After generating about a minute of offense, a tired trio of T-Birds got caught on the ice, and with the game on his stick, Bruins captain Paul Carey out-waited Desrosiers from backhand to forehand to score the game-winner, ending the T-Birds' streak of five straight wins in games that extended beyond 60 minutes.
The T-Birds and Bruins complete the rivalry week on Sunday afternoon inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center, with puck drop set for 3:05 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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American Hockey League Stories from December 14, 2019
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