Minor League Monday: Thunderbirds win two more to move into second place

Springfield sweeps weekend set over Bears and Penguins

The Springfield Thunderbirds extended its winning streak to six games with victories over the Hershey Bears and Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins this weekend.

On Friday, the Thunderbirds routed the Bears 8-1 at MassMutual Center with Paul Thompson and Anthony Greco leading the way with two goals and an assist each. Henrik Borgstrom, Aleksi Saarela, Dominic Toninato and Owen Tippett also scored goals. Joel Lowry collected three assists, Tommy Cross and Daniel Audette added two, and Jack Rodewald, Saarela, Will Lochead, Aleksi Heponiemi, Brady Keeper, Kevin Roy and Jake Massie also picked up helpers. Chris Driedger made 21 saves to raise his record to 5-3.

Springfield remained at home for Saturday’s game against the Penguins and pulled out a 4-3 shootout win. Owen Tippett tied the game with 6:32 left in regulation and scored the deciding goal in the fifth round of the shootout. Daniel Audette and Aleksi Saarela scored the other Thunderbirds goals. Aleksi Heponiemi set up two scores and Jonathan Ang, Kevin Roy and Brady Keeper also picked up assists. Philippe Desrosiers stopped 41 of 44 shots and only surrendered one goal in the shootout. Henrik Borgstrom chipped in a goal in the first round of  the skills competition.

The Thunderbirds are now 8-4 after twelve games and are in second place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, three points behind the first place Hartford Wolf Pack.

In ECHL action, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits split its two games this weekend.

The Swamp Rabbits defeated the Jacksonville IceMen 5-3 on Friday night on home ice. Ryan Bednard (FLA) made 25 saves to even his record at 3-3. Matt Marcinew (SPG) scored two goals and added two assists to power the offense. Liam Pecararo (SPG) notched a goal and an assist and Adam Rockwood (SPG) and Jake Horton (SPG) each contributed an assist. Patrick Bajkov (FLA) was held off the score sheet and finished -1.

Greenville traveled to Atlanta on Saturday and dropped a wild 7-6 decision to the host Gladiators. Patrick Bajkov (FLA) scored his fifth of the season and added two assists. Matt Marcinew (SPG) tallied a goal and an assist. Adam Rockwood (SPG) set up two goals and Jake Horton (SPG) also had an assist in the loss.

The Swamp Rabbits are 5-5 after ten games and in third place in South Division.

Locally, the Florida Panthers are scheduled for an 11 a.m. practice on Monday at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs.