Minor-League Monday: Thunderbirds earn road split against Penguins and Devils

After falling in Wilkes-Barre, Springfield wins in Binghamton

The Springfield Thunderbirds (11-7) slipped into third place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division after splitting its weekend road games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Devils.

On Friday, the Penguins skated to a 4-1 victory over the Thunderbirds in a chippy game at Mohegan Sun Arena. Blaine Byron scored Springfield’s only goal 3:04 into the first period to tie the score, with the assists going to Henrik Borgstrom and Anthony Greco. Once again, Chris Driedger had to take a loss due to a lack of offensive support.  Driedger, who has a .942 save percentage, finished with 31 saves on 34 shots.

The Thunderbirds bounced back on Saturday to earn win number eleven on the season with a 3-2 decision over the Devils. Dominic Toninato scored the game-winning goal shorthanded 1:43 into the third period, with the lone assist going to Anthony Greco. Aleksi Saarela produced a goal and an assist and rookie Owen Tipppett bagged his eighth of the season to tie the game at one late in the first period. Paul Thompson, Matt Mangene and Blaine Byron picked up assists. Philippe Desrosiers made 35 stops to earn First Star honors.

Springfield is off until Friday when the face the Penguins again, this time at home. They will host Providence on Saturday before playing in Bridgeport on Sunday.

In ECHL action, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits played four games this past week and won three of them.

On Wednesday, Florida Panthers prospect Patrick Bajkov scored 3:47 into overtime to give the visiting Swamp Rabbits a 4-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals. Bajkov also had an assist on Rodrigo Abols’ second period marker. Thunderbirds prospect Matt Marcinew scored a goal and Jake Horton, Cliff Pu and Adam Rockwood collected helpers. Ryan Bednard made 28 saves to get the win.

Friday saw the Swamp Rabbits destroy the host Admirals by an 8-1 count. Bednard made 38 saves in his best professional start to date. Abols scored twice and added an assist, Bajkov and Marcinew each produced a goal and an assist, Cliff Pu scored a goal and added two assists, Rockwood collected two assists and Dylan MacPherson picked up an assist.

Greenville returned to Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Saturday and posted a 3-2 win over the Indy Fuel. Bajkov scored two goals which were both set up by Pu.

And finally on Sunday, the Swamp Rabbits had its three-game winning streak snapped by the visiting Florida Everblades, who won the game 3-0. Bednard made 31 saves and saw his record drop to 5-5-1.

Grenville’s productive week puts them at 8-7-1 and in third place in the South Division.

Dryden Hunt was placed on waiver yesterday so expect someone from the Thunderbirds (Tippett?) to come up to his spot on the NHL roster.