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Minor-League Wednesday: Thunderbirds continue to tread water in AHL Atlantic

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Tough weekend for Springfield and Swamp Rabbits

“nTampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

With the Florida Panthers playing a Monday game, that pushed back this week’s minor-league update. So, let’s take a hump day look back at how the Springfield Thunderbirds and Greenville Swamp Rabbits fared this past weekend.

The Thunderbirds had a busy weekend playing all three days and compiled a 1-1-1 record that left them stuck in fifth place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.

On Friday, the T-Birds posted a 5-3 victory over the lowly Binghamton Devils on home ice. Owen Tippett opened the scoring with his 11th of the season and collected two assists. Dryden Hunt produced a goal and an assist and Rob O’Gara, Anthony Greco and Thomas Schemitsch also lit the lamp. Other Thunderbirds with assists were Aleksi Saarela (2), Ethan Prow, Brady Keeper and Riley Stillman. Jayce Hawryluk played the first game of his conditioning stint and contributed two shots on goal. Sam Montembeault stopped 30 of 33 shots to pick up his second AHL win of the campaign.

Springfield played host to the Providence Bruins on Saturday and fell 5-4 in overtime when Paul Carey beat Philippe Desrosiers 1:35 into the extra session. Defenseman Tommy Cross scored twice and Paul Thompson and Aleksi Saarela, who tied things up midway through the third, also found the back of the Providence net. Joel Lowry and Thomas Schemitsch each had two assists and Jayce Hawryluk and Daniel Audette also added helpers. Desrosiers finished the game with 45 saves.

The two teams met again in Providence on Sunday and the Bruins skated to an easy 5-0 laugher over the tired T-Birds. Sam Montembeault got the start and turned away 28 of 33 shots and Springfield went 0-for-5 on the power play.

The Thunderbirds (15-14-1) trail the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the final playoff spot in the division by one point. The Penguins currently have two games in hand.

In ECHL action, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits posted a 1-2 record in three weekend games.

On Friday, the Swamp Rabbits were bested 5-1 by the Orlando Solar Bears on home ice. Thunderbirds prospect Matt Marcinew assisted on the only Greenville goal.

The Swamp Rabbits paid a visiti to the division-leading Carolina Stingrays on Saturday and were blanked by a 3-0 count. Ryan Bednard backed up Jeremy Helvig during this one.

Sunday saw Greenville end its three-game losing streak with a 6-2 thumping of the Solar Bears at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Liam Pecararo scored a goal and added two assists and finished with a +4 rating. Matt Marcinew chipped in a goal and Patrick Bajkov, Adam Rockwood and Dylan MacPherson picked up assists. Ryan Bednard got the start and made 16 stops.

The Swamp Rabbits are now 13-13-0-1 and in third place in the ECHL’s South Division.