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Minor-League Wednesday: Thunderbirds back in playoff position after weekend wins

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Owen Tippett scores on Friday and Saturday

Anaheim Ducks v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Springfield Thunderbirds posted back-to-back road victories over the Utica Comets and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this weekend to run its winning streak to four games.

On Friday, the Thunderbirds edged the Comets by a 3-2 count with rookie Owen Tippett bagging the eventual game-winning goal with two seconds left in the second period on assists from Aleksi Saarela and Brady Keeper. Joel Lowry and Jonathan Ang (shorthanded) scored the other Springfield goals while Jack Rodewald collected an assist. Sam Montembeault was the winning goalie, finishing with 30 saves on 32 shots.

Springfield doubled up the Penguins 6-3 at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday. Owen Tippett scored his 14th goal and added three assists to hit 30 points on the season. Dryden Hunt scored twice and added an assist and Thomas Schemitsch, Jake Massie and Rodrigo Abols also lit the lamp. Brady Keeper and Aleksi Saarela each collected two assists and Tommy Cross, Paul Thompson, Jonathan Ang and Henrik Borgstrom also added helpers. Philippe Desrosiers stopped 30 shots in the win.

The Thunderbirds (20-16-2) are back in fourth place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division and in a playoff position.

The ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits have also been on a bit of tear since the calendar turned to 2020. Greenville swept two straight from the Norfolk Admirals and collected a point during a 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Everblades, with all games being played on home ice. The five-point run followed a tough 3-2 loss to the Cyclones in Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve.

Ryan Bednard stopped 33 of 36 shots in that one-goal loss to Cincinnati. Adam Rockwood collected an assist during the game.

Bednard bounced back with a 28-save shutout on Thursday as the Swamp Rabbits opened its two-game set against Norfolk with a 3-0 win. Adam Rockwood was in on every goal, scoring twice and setting up the other by Mathieu Foget.

Greenville skated to a 5-3 win over the Admirals on Thursday. Jake Horton scored a goal and Patrick Bajkov, Matt Marcinew and Adam Rockwood drew assists.

On Saturday, the Swamp Rabbits fell 5-4 in overtime to the Everblades. Patrick Bajkov scored twice and Jake Horton scored for the second straight game. Adam Rockwood and Will Lochead collected assists.

Greenville is back to . 500 at 17-17-1-1 and currently in third place in the South Division.