BRIDGEPORT, CT- The Springfield Thunderbirds suffered another heartbreaking loss last night in Bridgeport, CT as Ryan Pullock scored the game-winning goal 2:18 into overtime to give the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a victory 4-3. It was the second meeting between these two teams in four days.
The good news is the Thunderbirds gained a point in the overtime loss. The bad news is they are 15 points behind the Hershey Bears for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with a lot of hockey still to be played.
The Sound Tigers did not waste any time getting onto the scoreboard. Sound Tigers defenseman Jesse Graham fired a wrist shot past Thunderbirds goaltender Reto Berra 2:16 into the opening period to go up 1-0.
Ross Johnston later redirected a pass by from Colin Markison to give the Sound Tigers a two-goal lead. Thunderbirds Head Coach Geordie Kinnear put an end to Berra’s night and to stop the Sound Tigers momentum by making a goaltender change as Mike McKenna took over between the pipes for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds scored a goal late in the first to cut the deficit to 2-1. MacKenzie Weegar unleashed a one-timer that beat Sound Tigers goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
The Thunderbirds tied the game midway through the second period. With their second two-man advantage of the evening, Jayce Hawrlyuk fed Chase Balisy through the goal mouth who buried his shot to tie it 2-2.
Pullock scored his first goal of the evening midway through the third period with a power-play goal ending the Thunderbirds successful penalty kill streak at 32 to put the Sound Tigers up 3-2.
Paul Thompson answered for the Thunderbirds with 50 seconds left in regulation with a nice deflection, doing so with just one glove having lost the other in the neutral zone to knot the game at 3-3.
Regulation would not decide it as the game went into overtime. The Thunderbirds started the overtime session with a man advantage. The Sound Tigers killed the penalty and created several scoring chances.
Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna made some key saves in overtime but it wasn’t enough. Pullock put an end to the game with a wrist shot that beat McKenna for the game-winning goal 2:18 into overtime.
It was the Sound Tigers seventh win in overtime.
The loss in the extra session was their seventh defeat in the overtime period this season.
Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna made 30 saves in a losing effor. Sound Tigers goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for the win.
The Thunderbirds will be back home on Friday night when they take on their foes from just down I-91, the Hartford Wolfpack, at the MassMutual Center. The puck will drop at 7:05 P.M.