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 Springfield Thunderbirds

T-Birds Hang Tough But Can't Skate Past Bruins

April 19, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Anton Malmstrom (right)
Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Anton Malmstrom (right)
(Springfield Thunderbirds)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-36-3-2) battled hard but ultimately came up shy in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Providence Bruins (41-20-6-3) on Friday night inside Amica Mutual Pavilion.

The T-Birds' struggles with finding the opening tally continued just 4:47 into the action when Anthony Richard circled Colten Ellis' net before firing a perfect cross-crease pass to Georgii Merkulov, who one-touched it into the yawning net, giving Providence a 1-0 advantage.

Like on Sunday, though, the T-Birds were not deterred. 3:58 after the opening Merkulov goal, Anton Malmstrom cashed in on his first professional goal, funneling a left-point wrist shot through traffic to tie the score, 1-1, at 8:45. Adam Gaudette extended his point streak to five games with an assist on the play, and in doing so, he also became the first T-Bird to reach 70 points in a single season.

The T-Birds had a gift-wrapped chance to take the lead when Trevor Kuntar was guilty of a four-minute high-stick infraction. Springfield's top power-play unit fired from all angles, but after five shots on Brandon Bussi's cage, the Bruins survived the threat to hold the score at 1-1.

Providence then leaped back in front in the closing minute when Richard scooted to the left-wing circle before snapping another perfect pass to the back post, where Jayson Megna guided it through Ellis with just 46 seconds left in the period, sending the Bruins to a 2-1 intermission advantage.

Gaudette and Zack Bolduc each had an assist in the first, and both players picked up another helper at 6:10 of the second when Bolduc drove down to the bottom of the right circle. From there, he tucked a backhand feed to a cutting Ryan Suzuki, who finished a forehander through Bussi as he fell to the ice, tying the game 2-2.

Bussi and Ellis had the force fields up in front of their respective nets for the better part of the next 30 minutes of game action, as the 2-2 score held all the way until the 17:13 mark of the third. Rookie Riley Duran fired the dagger into the T-Birds when a rebound skipped right to his stick to the right of Ellis, leaving the Providence College product with a wide-open net and a go-ahead goal to make it 3-2. Merkulov added one more into an empty net in the final minute, ending the scoring.

The Thunderbirds conclude their 2023-24 season on Saturday night before a 20th sellout crowd inside the MassMutual Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The day begins with the Community Bank N.A. Block Party at 4:00 p.m. at the Plaza at MGM Springfield before puck drop at 7:05 p.m. inside the Thunderdome for the 14th straight sellout audience.

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

Images from this story

Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Anton Malmstrom (right)
Springfield Thunderbirds defenseman Anton Malmstrom (right)


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American Hockey League Stories from April 19, 2024

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