Minor-League Wednesday: Thunderbirds pick up three points before the holidays
Springfield remains just outside of the playoff picture
The Springfield Thunderbirds went 1-1-1 over the weekend before the AHL broke for the holidays. Springfield has compiled a 16-15-2 record which has them in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. They are tied in points (34) with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but the Penguins have played two less games, so they currently hold down the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
On Friday, the Thunderbirds got a 32-save performance from Philippe Desrosiers in a 3-1 win over the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Paul Thompson scored an unassisted goal in the second period to tie the game. New acquisition Ryan Haggerty bagged the game-winner, with the assists going to Ethan Prow and Daniel Audette, 12:34 into third and Anthony Greco notched his tenth of the year with the clinching empty-netter.
The T-Birds traveled to Hershey on Saturday and fell to the Bears 2-1 in overtime when Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored with 57 seconds left in the extra session. Henrik Borgstrom picked up his eighth of the season with a power-play goal with the lone assist going to fellow rookie Aleksi Heponiemi. Sam Montembeault stopped 37 of 39 shots to help earn his club a hard-fought point.
Hershey hosted again on Sunday, and this time the Bears rallied from a two-goal deficit with three in the third to nip the Thunderbirds by a 3-2 count. Paul Thompson and Daniel Audette scored in the second period to give Springfield the lead before former NHLer Matt Moulson tied the game and set up the winner for the home side. Jonathan Ang, Joel Lowry, Rob O’Gara and Ethan Prow collected assists. Philippe Desrosiers took the loss, finishing the tilt with 28 saves.
The Thunderbirds get back at it on Friday when the host the Providence Bruins. They will take on the Sound Tigers on Saturday in Bridgeport.
In ECHL action, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits journeyed south to Estero and split a pair of games with the Florida Everblades.
The Swamp Rabbits took the opener on Friday with a 5-3 decision over the Everblades. Ryan Bednard made 32 saves to pick up his eighth win of the season. Patrick Bajkov and Matt Marcinew scored goals and Liam Pecararo (2), Adam Rockwood and Dylan MacPherson collected assists.
Florida scored four times in opening period to take the second of the back-to-back set with a 5-2 win on Saturday. Adam Rockwood notched his third of the season and Liam Pecararo and Matt Marcinew added assists.
The Swamp Rabbits currently sport a 14-14-0-1 record and are in third place in the South Division.
Greenville will host the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday before facing the Atlanta Gladiators in Duluth on Sunday.