SPRINGFIELD, MA – It was a complete turnaround for the Springfield Thunderbirds last night at the MassMutual Center as Jayce Hawryluk scored two goals to help defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4-3.
“I thought we played a full 60. Monty did well for us in the last few minutes especially. All around I thought it was a good team game,” Hawryluk said.
“I liked the way we played. I thought the guys came out today and skated; made plays, played the right way, played fast. I was happy,” Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear said.
Last night’s game saw a lot of physical play and the tempo picked up throughout the entire game.
“We’re expecting them to be physical everytime we play them. Their one of our rivals and that’s how they play. Their a hard team to play against. They don’t give you much space.” Hawryluk said.
“They’re well coached. They play a hard game. They have some skill but they have a very good forecheck. We kind of had the mindset before the game that it was going to be a physical hard game. There wasn’t going to be a lot of space but I thought the guys did a good job responding to that and getting a big win for us for a team that didn’t play last (Friday) night.” Bobby Farnham said.
It did not take long for the Thunderbirds to get on the board as Maxim Mamin scored the game’s first goal 1:24 into the game with a wrist shot past Sound Tigers goaltender Christopher Gibson to go up 1-0. Curtis Valk and Josh Brown were credited with the assists.
Tanner Fritz evened the score for the Sound Tigers at 1-1 when he came on an odd-man rush and put one over the glove of Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Montembeault. The goal was unassisted.
The Thunderbirds retook the lead a little over halfway into the second period. Maxim Mamin setup Alexandre Grenier and took a shot that went through Gibson to give the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead.
Jayce Hawryluk extended the lead for the Thunderbirds when Thomas Schemitsch sent a pass to Hawryluk and took a shot from the left side to make it 3-1 with 2:57 remaining in the second. Curtis Valk received his second assist of the night.
Hawryluk scored his second of the night after a tip-in from Chase Balisy 51 seconds into the period to make it 4-1.
Things would get a little wild in the period when Sound Tigers left winger Ross Johnston gave Jayce Hawryluk a few punches, but Farnham would step in and stick up for Hawryluk and fought Johnston. Both players would be done for the evening as Farnham received a major for fighting and a game misconduct. Johnston received a minor for slashing and high-sticking as well a major for fighting, a ten-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.
Hawryluk was happy to see Farnham stick up for him.
“That’s unbelievable. Farny coming in there and sticking up for me after a cheap shot like that. It means a whole lot to me. I can’t thank him enough for sticking up for me and coming in and doing that. He’s a team guy and everyone in the room loves him. He’s one of our leaders,” Hawryluk said.
“Things happen fast. That’s why we love Bobby (Farnham). We always talk about team first and Bobby is a team-first guy. Every single night, he brings it. Sticks up for teammates,” Kinnear said.
The Sound Tigers started to rally back when Devon Toews scored a power-play goal with an assist from Steve Bernier with 10:18 left in regulation. Bernier scored the final goal of the night for the Sound Tigers with 2:57 left in regulation with assists from Devon Toews and Travis St. Denis.
From there, Montembault held the fort down to earn his fourth win of the season.
The Thunderbirds will head to the XL Center in Hartford this afternoon for a matchup against the Wolf Pack with the drop of the puck at 5 p.m.
“It’s a similar team that their “d” can skate. We’ve got to be ready start on time. Can’t play just one good game. Make sure we play the right way tomorrow,” Kinnear said.
The Thunderbirds and Sound Tigers will meet again this upcoming Friday at the MassMutual Center with the drop of the puck at 7:05 p.m. Farnham believes there will be a carryover especially when these two teams play against each other many times throughout the year.
“There’s always carryovers. A lot of these guys have long memories in this game and I am sure there will be. I am sure the next game will be a very physical game,” Farnham said.