UTICA, NY – The Springfield Thunderbirds fell for the second straight in overtime as the Utica Comets won 5-4 in overtime last night.
The Thunderbirds struck first as defenseman Sena Acolatse went to the crease and scored on the rebound from a Mike Downing shot to go up 1-0. Brett Regner tried to make it 2-0 as Comets goaltender Thatcher Demko made the sprawling save with the splits.
The Thunderbirds responded late in the first period with 2:04 remaining as defenseman MacKenzie Weegar scored on a slap shot that passed Demko’s right shoulder.
Mike McKenna only needed to make seven first period saves for the Thunderbirds, but he was tested moments after Weegar’s goal, as Jake Virtanen came around the net with a dangerous wraparound chance, but the veteran kept the leg pad on the ice to stonewall the Canucks prospect.
Dryden Hunt ended his scoreless streak a little over a minute into the second period. He took a sharp angle shot from the left wing side that got past Demko to extend their lead to 3-1.
The Comets scored two goals in under three minutes during the second period when right winger Alexandre Grenier took a wrist shot that buzzed over the shoulder of Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna to cut into the Springfield lead at 3-1. Minutes later, Cole Cassels received a pass from left winger Joseph LaBate and potted his first goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-2. For the remainder of the period, Utica would get no closer.
LaBate tied the game for the Comets at 1:57 of the third period when he put the rebound over McKenna’s glove. The see-saw affair continued when Josh Brown wired a one-timer past Demko at 5:24 to swing the lead back in favor of the Thunderbirds. With just over three-and-a-half to play in regulation, Comets center Curtis Valk drew a penalty shot and tied the game as he beat McKenna with the shot over the glove.
As the game ticked into overtime, Darren Archibald picked up his second overtime goal in a week, as he beat McKenna on a power move to the backhand, even though it was ruled no-goal initially. Archibald ended up drawing a penalty shot, but before he even needed to take it, the prior play went to review and was deemed a good goal, rendering the penalty shot meaningless in a 5-4 Comets win.
The Thunderbirds hope to put an end to their three-game losing streak when they on the Providence Bruins at the MassMutual Center tonight at 7:05. There will be a Bruins alumni game at 4:00 P.M.