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Thunderbirds split weekend set with Bruins and Sound Tigers

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Kyle Rau notches first career AHL hat-trick

NHL: Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Springfield Thunderbirds continued to muddle through the 2016-17 season, splitting this weekend’s games with the Providence Bruins and Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Thunderbirds (17-20-6-2) currently sit in sixth place in the Atlantic Division, sixteen points out of a playoff spot.

Providence 3, Springfield 1

Alex Grant, Noel Acciari and Danton Heinen scored even-strength goals and Malcolm Subban made 26 saves to led the Bruins to a 2-1 win on Friday night in Providence. Graham Black scored Springfield’s only goal, from Michael Downing and Sena Acolatse, midway through the first period to tie the game at one. Acciari potted the go-ahead goal 1:29 later. Reto Berra took the loss, finishing with 27 stops.

Springfield 5, Bridgeport 2

Kyle Rau scored three goals to power the Thunderbirds to a 5-2 win at Webster Bank Arena Saturday in Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers took a 1-0 lead 5:24 into the action on a Kyle Burroughs goal. Rau tied the game 6:16 later, with the assists going to Eric Robinson and Sena Acolatse. The 24-year-old scored again at 8:31 of the second from Acolatse and Ryan Horvat. Tanner Fritz lit the lamp for the home side at the 12:38 mark to even the game at two. Rookie Juho Lammikko bagged the go-ahead goal from Robinson and Graham Black with 4:37 left in the frame. Rau completed the hat-trick at 12:08 of the third, with the assists going to Horvat and Paul Thompson. Anthony Greco completed the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter with 3:40 left in the tilt. Reto Berra made 25 saves to get the win, while Stephon Williams stopped 27 shots for the Sound Tigers.

The two teams will meet again in Bridgeport on Tuesday night before the Thunderbirds return home to face Hartford on Friday at MassMutual Center.