SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds have struggled and have faced heartbreak. The latest edition Friday night featured a third period rally, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers leaving western Massachusetts with a 5-3 win. Springfield has now lost five straight games on home ice.
Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear had mixed feelings about the game in the way his team performed.
“We got to quit giving up goals at the end of periods. It’s a bit of a trend. Special teams has to be better. I thought the second period, I liked the way we played in the offensive zone and we were there for long periods of time,” Kinnear Said.
Graham Black got the Thunderbirds on the board 1:22 into the second period. Chase Balisy made a backhand pass to Black. Black put in passed Sound Tigers goaltender Jaroslav Halak to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
The Sound Tigers tied the game on the power play with less than two minutes in the period. Steve Bernier deflected a shot from Ryan Pulock that went through Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna and tied the game at 1.
The physical play started to pick up in the second period and emotions were running high.
Sena Acolatse delivered a hit to Sound Tigers Ross Johnston, who then went after Acolatse as Acolatse responded as they both dropped the gloves. Both received fighting majors and Johnston received an extra two minutes for roughing.
The Sound Tigers took the lead in the closing seconds of the second period when Bracken Kearns went to the front of the net and put home a rebound with 11 seconds left.
The Sound Tigers tried to extend their lead in the third period when the puck went off of Josh Holmstrom‘s stick. But upon further review, the goal was waived after referees felt Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna had no chance to play the puck. Andrew Rowe responded scored on a breakaway to give the Sound Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Cue the comeback. And the heartbreak.
Denis Malgin setup a play where he got through two Sound Tigers defenders and found Jayce Hawryluk. Hawryluk put it home passed Halak to make it 3-2. Matt MacKenzie tied the game a little over 90 seconds later with a point shot to make it 3-3.
The Sound Tigers were just too much for the Thunderbirds in the late going of this game. Kearns scored his second goal of the night and the game-winning goal through a scramble at the net to make it 4-3.
Ben Holmstrom added an insurance goal with an empty-net goal to make it for 5-3 for the Sound Tigers in the closing seconds of regulation.
The Thunderbirds will hope to turn things around as they travel to take on the Binghamton Senators tonight where the puck will drop at 7:05 P.M. and then return for a Sunday afternoon game against the Toronto Marlies at the MassMutual Center for a 3:05 P.M. puck drop.
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