SPRINGFIELD, MA – Springfield Thunderbirds goaltender Evan Cowley made a career-high 37 saves, but it was not enough as the Thunderbirds were defeated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-1 Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center. The loss ends the Thunderbirds’ winning streak at three games.
“They play a 60-minute game. They never change how they play. We took way too many penalties against an elite team and we fell asleep at the end of the second period.” Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear said.
The Penguins got on the board a little over halfway in the second period as Reid Gardiner setup Gage Quinney and Quinney put in his eighth of the season over the glove of Cowley to make it 1-0. Former Thunderbird Greg McKegg was also credited with an assist.
The Thunderbirds responded a little over two minutes later as Dryden Hunt put in his 13th goal of the season with an assist from Jayce Hawryluk and Mike Downing to tie it at 1.
Mike Downing would be called for hooking on the Thunderbirds with 1:38 remaining in the second period. The Penguins took advantage of the power play when Daniel Spong skated up the ice and went behind the net and found Thomas DiPauli as he put it past Cowley to make it 2-1 with 13.1 seconds left in the period.
Ed Wittchow almost had the game-tying goal for the Thunderbirds but was denied by the glove of Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith, who finished the game with 21 saves.
Thunderbirds defenseman Josh Brown headed to the box with 1:31 remaining in regulation for holding. The Penguins took advantage once again as Garrett Wilson scored his ninth goal of the season with an assist from Jean-Sebastien Dea to make it 3-1.
“I think we had a few games that are similar tonight against them. Obviously, they are one of the better teams in the league. Your not gonna win playing 45-50 minutes against teams like that. You gotta play a 60-minute game. They’ll burn you if you don’t,” Dryden Hunt said.
The Thunderbirds will travel to Charlotte to take on the Checkers for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday and return to home ice next weekend when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come to town on Friday and the Providence Bruins on Saturday.