SPRINGFIELD, MA – Dryden Hunt‘s hat-trick and the team’s three power-play goals snapped the Springfield Thunderbirds six-game losing streak Sunday, defeating the Belleville Senators by the final score of 7-4.
“I wasn’t disappointed in the last two games,” said Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear of the Friday & Saturday night games. “I was happy with the special teams but I wasn’t disappointed in the other two games because I thought there was a lot of good things. Five-on-five on Friday was great. Yesterday (Saturday) the guys played hard just not always smart and that’s what a young group is going to do.”
Anthony Greco scored his first goal of the season with a pass from Juho Lammikko and the puck went through Senators goaltender Danny Taylor to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
The Senators knotted the game at one a little over halfway through the first period. Erik Burgdoerfer took a shot and Daniel Ciampini tipped it past Thunderbirds goaltender Evan Cowley to tie it at 1-1.
The Thunderbirds had to use special teams quite often in the first period as they killed off three 5-on-3 penalties.
The Thunderbirds took the lead with 1:06 remaining in the first period and Dryden Hunt was able to put in a rebound when Ed Wittchow took a shot in traffic to go up 2-1. Jayce Hawryluk was credited with the second assist.
Erik Burgdoerfer tied the game in the second period for the Senators at 4:02 into the second period with assists from Filip Chlapik and Daniel Ciampini.
The Thunderbirds would then go on a three-goal run in the rest of the second period. Alexandre Grenier would setup Dryden Hunt, who fired a one-timer to beat Taylor to put the Thunderbirds up 3-2. The Thunderbirds would then score a second power-play goal 48 seconds later in the period when Blaine Byron was able to put past Taylor for his first professional goal to make it 4-2. Ed Wittchow and Anthony Greco were credited with the assists.
“It was nice to get that one out of the way, even better to get the win. Made it even more special for sure.” Byron said of the goal.
The Thunderbirds would get one more goal with 4.4 seconds remaining in the second period. Alexandre Grenier setup Curtis Valk, who fired a one-timer past Taylor to go up 5-2. Valk now has a point in his last six games.
The Senators cut the lead to two 32 seconds into the third period when Patrick Sieloff took a shot to beat Cowley to make it 5-3. Jack Rodewald and Ethan Werek received assists on Sieloff’s goal.
Dryden Hunt finished off the hat-trick with a setup from Valk at 11:17 into the third period. Alexandre Grenier scored his first goal of the season close to three minutes to extend the lead to 7-3.
Jim O’Brien finished off the scoring for the Senators to make it 7-4 at 14:19 into the third period.
Thunderbirds goaltender Evan Cowley finished the game with 27 saves in the team win.
“It was awesome just to get the opportunity,” Cowley said. “I wanted to come and help out the best I could. Got the opportunity to start today and wanted to make the most of it and help the guys out and boy they helped me out a lot today as well. It was great to be out there.”
The Thunderbirds will travel to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for a home-and-home series beginning Wednesday night.