Minor-League Monday: Thunderbirds cling to fourth place after big win over Rocket

Springfield bounces back after losing to Bridgeport on Friday

The Springfield Thunderbirds split its two games this weekend, falling in Bridgeport on Friday night before bouncing back with a big win over Laval on home ice on Saturday,

Springfield was in it for most of the game on Friday before the Sound Tigers pulled away in the latter part of the third period for a 4-1 win. Kevin Roy scored the only goal for the Thunderbirds, with the assists going to Daniel Audette and Owen Tippett. Philippe Desrosier took the loss, surrendering the four goals on 42 shots.

Back at MassMutual Center 24 hours later, Springfield doubled up the visiting Rocket by a 6-3 count. Defenseman Riley Stillman lit the lamp twice and Owen Tippett,  Aleksi Saarela and Daniel Audette each produced a goal and two assists. Tommy Cross scored the other T-Birds goal and Henrik Borgstrom (with two), Jonathan Ang, Kevin Roy, and Joel Lowry contributed helpers. Sam Montembeault picked up his first AHL win of the season, finishing with 38 saves in his second start since being sent down.

The Thunderbirds are now 13-11 and one point ahead of Lehigh Valley Phantoms for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Lehigh Valley has two games in hand. The two teams will meet on Wednesday night in Springfield.

With four points this weekend, Tippett became the first T-Bird to hit the 20-point mark. The 20-year-old winger leads the team in points (20) and goals (10). Roy’s nine assists are the highest number in that category.

In ECHL action, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits edged the Atlanta Gladiators 3-2 at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth on Friday night. Liam Pecararo scored twice, including the game-winner with 1:47 left in regulation and Matt Marcinew also dented the twine and added an assist. Patrick Bajkov also picked up a helper for the Swamp Rabbits, who remain in third place in the South Division with a 11-9-0-1 record.

The Florida Panthers will have an 11 a.m. practice this morning at the Panthers IceDen as they prepare for Tuesday night’s tilt against the Minnesota Wild.