The Springfield Thunderbirds gained an improbable point on the fourth place Providence Bruins last night at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in the Rhode Island capital with a stunning 6-5 overtime win.
After Brendan Gaunce scored his second goal of the game with 1:50 left in regulation to turn a 3-2 third period deficit into a 5-3 lead for the home side, it looked like the Thunderbirds would fall five points behind the P-Bruins in the race for the final playoff spot in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
With Philippe Desrosiers pulled for an extra attacker Owen Tippett scored with 41 seconds remaining and then after a timeout and Desrosiers off again, Aleksi Saarela sent the game to overtime with one-timer with 8.8 seconds left on the clock.
A hooking penalty on Brett Ritchie would give the T-Birds a power-play chance late in overtime and Saarela would came up with the game-winner from Henrik Borgstrom and Paul Thompson.
Desrosiers made 35 saves to up his record to 12-6-1 on the season.
Rodrigo Abols scored a goal and added two assists and Tommy Cross and Rob O’ Gara also lit the lamp for the Thunderbirds.
Tippett, Dryden Hunt, Brady Keeper, Thomas Schemitsch, Daniel Audette and Ryan Haggerty drew assists.
The Thunderbirds are now two points back of the P-Bruins with both teams having played 43 games.