Tippett Line Sets Tone in Bounce-Back Win over Devils
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-13-0-0) broke out offensively to snap a two-game slide in a 5-3 victory over the Binghamton Devils (7-15-4-0) on Friday night inside the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds threatened to run the Devils out of the Thunderdome early, as Owen Tippett wasted little time potting his second goal in two games against Binghamton just 1:04 into the action. The rookie winger barreled down the left wing, protecting the puck on his backhand side and jamming a rebound shot past Cory Schneider to give Springfield the 1-0 edge.
Tippett's line connected just 2:58 later to extend the advantage, as Tippett deflected a centering pass on goal that Schneider denied on a stretch. However, the rebound came right back to Tippett, who backhanded it into the slot for Dryden Hunt to pounce and finish off the play to make it 2-0 just 4:02 in.
The Devils, who entered losers of seven straight, did not bow easily, though. Their captain, Ben Street, got the team a much-needed jolt at 5:45 as he cut to the slot from the right side and launched a wrist shot through Sam Montembeault to cut the lead to 2-1.
Street was not done, either, as he beat Montembeault again off a slick set-up behind the Springfield goal by Joey Anderson at 14:46 to tie the game, 2-2 heading into the first break.
Montembeault shrugged off Street's goals to put together a phenomenal second period effort, stopping all 13 Devils shots, and the T-Birds' penalty killers duplicated with gutsy performances against three Binghamton power play chances.
Springfield restored its lead with a heads-up play by an unlikely source providing the heroics, as T-Birds' defensive newcomer Rob O'Gara - who scored only three times in 47 games a season ago - crept up to the left circle and blasted a one-time feed from Aleksi Saarela over Schneider's glove at 9:23 to make it 3-2, a score that would hold up into the second intermission.
Anthony Greco would put the game away with his ninth of the season at 4:19 of the third as he raced to the Devils zone and beat Schneider through the legs to make it 4-2. Thomas Schemitsch added a goal in his second consecutive game during a delayed penalty net mouth scramble to make it 5-2 with 5:23 to play.
Ryan Schmelzer would end Springfield's goal run at 16:32, but it would be too little, too late for the Devils, who dropped an eighth consecutive contest.
With the win, the T-Birds pulled into a tie with the Penguins for third place in the Atlantic Division with 30 points. They begin a home-and-home set with the Bruins on Saturday night inside the MassMutual Center, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.
Leslie David Baker ("Stanley Hudson") from NBC comedy "The Office" will be on hand for the festivities, with a VIP meet-and-greet at 5:00 p.m. and a public meet-and-greet beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the concourse.
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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