SPRINGFIELD, MA – Juho Lammikko’s goal and two assists helped the Springfield Thunderbirds defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-4 Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
“I think we came ready to play from the start. First period was pretty good. Second period was back and forth and the third they came in hard and we stuck together on defense very well,” Lammikko said.
The Sound Tigers got on the board with 6:03 remaining in the first period when Shane Prince set up Parker Wortherspoon for his first goal of the evening and his first professional goal of his career, a shorthanded tally to make it 1-0.
The Thunderbirds tied the game with 2:11 remaining in the first period when Blaine Byron had the puck go off his chest and past Sound Tigers goaltender Christopher Gibson to tie it at 1-1. Lammikko and Ryan Horvat were credited with the assists. It was Horvat’s first game since November 15.
Lammikko would give the Thunderbirds their first lead of the night with 13.1 seconds remaining in the first period as Mike Downing setup Lammikko. Lammikko carrying speed down the right side of the ice was able to put in the backhand to make it 2-1.
“He’s (Lammikko) good on faceoffs. He’s a smart defenseman that can skate but he adds offense to his game. He is showing us that right now because he is playing the right way,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear said.
Fans would see a wild second period. The Sound Tigers scored two goals just 32 seconds apart when Casey Bailey tied the game from Tanner Fritz and Josh Ho-Sang at 7:44. Scott Eansor gave the Sound Tigers the lead at 3-2 at 8:16 from Mitchell Vande Sompel and Ben Holmstrom. Horvat would notch the game-tying goal as he was able to put in the saucer feed from Lammikko to tie it at 3-3 at 12:39. Ludwig Bystrom was credited with the secondary assist. The Thunderbirds retook the lead just nine seconds later when Anthony Greco scored his team-leading 10th of the season on a wrist shot with the assist from Lammikko at 12:48.
Curtis Valk extended the lead of the Thunderbirds as Jayce Hawryluk sent a saucer pass was able to put it past Gibson to make it 5-3. Ludwig Bystrom would receive his second assist of the evening. That is all the action Gibson would see for the night as Kristers Gudlevskis would come off the bench to replace Gibson. Gibson faced 19 shots, stopping just 14.
The Sound Tigers cut their deficit to one when Wortherspoon scored his second of the evening with 2:31 remaining in the second period. Tanner Fritz received his second assist of the night. Michael Dal Colle received the secondary assist.
It was about teammates sticking up for each other at the end of the second period when Sound Tigers defenseman Kyle Burroughs delivered a hit to Valk. Maxim Mamin stepped right up and dropped the gloves with Burroughs with 1:30 remaining in the second period.
“This group sticks together and I think you look across the board whenever there is a situation. We all stick up for one another. It’s team first. We keep building that,” Kinnear said.
It was a quiet third period as the Sound Tigers tried to get the game-tying goal. The best chance came when Prince was on a breakaway for the Sound Tigers but Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault denied the opportunity.
Montembeault finished the game with 29 saves to earn his fifth win of the season. Gudlevskis coming in relief for Gibson made five saves.
The Thunderbirds will welcome the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Thunderdome at the MassMutual Center tonight when the puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
The Thunderbirds and Sound Tigers will meet again next Friday night at the MassMutual Center for the drop of the puck at 7:05 p.m.