Story By: Matthew Wiernasz
Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds
SPRINGFIELD, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds took down their second win in a row in the final home game of the 2022 portion of the schedule as they defeated the Bridgeport Islanders 6-3 on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.
Cole Bardreau opened up the scoring for the Islanders in the first period as he fired the wrist shot past Thunderbirds goaltender Vadim Zherenko on the blocker side to make it 1-0 with 9:53 remaining in the first period.
The T-Birds tied the game with 5:37 remaining in the opening period. Drew Callin would get the puck from Will Bitten and Callin took advantage and scored with the backhand wraparound that beat Islanders goaltender Ken Appleby to even the score at 1-1.
Hugh McGing gave the Thunderbirds their first lead of the night as Will Bitten made the two-line pass to McGing and McGing used the forehand to beat Appleby to make it 2-1 for the Thunderbirds after the first period of play.
The Thunderbirds extended their lead in the second period. Austin Osmanski fired the shot and Nikita Alexandrov would put in the rebound for his first goal of the night to make it 3-1 with 16:31 remaining in the second period. For Osmanski, it was his first point in the AHL.
The Islanders cut down the lead to one. Chris Terry made the pass to Armand Durandeau. Durandeau beat Zherenko blocker side to make the score 3-2 with 15:52 remaining in the second period.
Jake Neighbours would extend the lead for the Thunderbirds once again as he skated on a 3-on-2. Neighbours went to the right side of the faceoff circle and fired the wrist shot that beat Appleby to make it 4-2 with 2:10 remaining in the second period
The Islanders started off the third period on the power play and they took advantage of it. Otto Koivula would be able to put the puck in the back of the net to cut the score down to one, 58 seconds into the third to make it 4-3.
The Islanders would get a 5-on-3 power play during the third period as Brady Lyle for the Thunderbirds would get a penalty for hooking and then Nikita Alexandrov would get a penalty for holding. The 5-on-3 would last for 1:43. The Islanders would put pressure on the Thunderbirds in their own zone. The Thunderbirds were able to kill off the 5-on-3 power play.
The Thunderbirds were able to get insurance goals as Alexandrov added his second goal of the night with 56 seconds remaining in regulation to make it 5-3. Greg Printz would add the second empty net goal for the Thunderbirds with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to make it 6-3 to seal the victory.
Thunderbirds goaltender Vadim Zherenko made 41 saves in the team win.