SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Carter Bancks scored two goals including the game-winning goal with 39 seconds left in regulation to defeat the Springfield Thunderbirds in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
“A bit of an up and down night for sure. I thought we had some growing pains. We gotta live through them.” Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear said.
Alex Grenier got the Thunderbirds on the board with a power-play goal as he took a slap shot that went by Comets goaltender Richard Bachman to make it 1-0. It was Grenier’s 18th goal of the season which is a career high.
The Comets responded quickly with two goals. They tied the game up two minutes later when Frankie Simonelli sent in a one-timer past Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault. Minutes later, Jalen Chatfield gave the Comets the lead with a wrist shot past Montembeault for his first goal of the season to make it 2-1.
Dryden Hunt was able to put in a rebound 1:42 into the second period with the deflection pass from Curtis Valk for his 20th goal of the season to make it 2-2. Hunt is the second player on the Thunderbirds to score 20 goals this year.
The Thunderbirds regained the lead when Hunt made the pass to Joel Lowry was he able to tip it in past Bachman to make it 3-2. The barrage continued when Thomas Schemitsch extended the lead for the Thunderbirds by putting a backhand through Bachman to make it 4-2.
The Comets cut the deficit back to one 16 seconds later. Adam Comrie took a shot on Montembeault, who made the initial save, but Michael Carcone was able to put in the rebound to make it 4-3.
The Comets earned a big opportunity in the second period with a 5-on-3 power play as Tim Erixon and Ryan Horvat were in the penalty box for tripping. They made the most of the opportunity by tying the game when Carter Bancks deflected a pass from Tanner MacMaster for his first goal of the evening to tie it at 4-4.
Valk put the Thunderbirds back on top with 14:57 remaining in regulation when he made a move to put a shot past Bachman to make it 5-4. Valk had a four-point night with a goal and three assists. Montembeault earned an assist on the goal by Valk.
The Comets would put on the heartbreak and rally back.
Lukas Jasek scored the game-tying goal with the turnaround slap shot for his first professional goal to tie at 4-4 with 2:11 remaining in regulation.
Bancks scored the game-winning goal with 39.5 seconds left in regulation as he was able to tap in his second goal of the night to make it 6-5.
The Thunderbirds will begin their final road trip of the season when they will make a Canadian swing to Belleville on Wednesday to take on the Senators and then travel to Laval to take on the Rocket on Friday. They will end the road trip on Sunday when they take on the Hartford Wolf Pack for the final time this season.
They will return to the MassMutual Center for the final two home games of the season when they take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, April 13 and the Providence Bruins on Saturday, April 14. Both games will begin at 7:05 p.m.