T-Birds suffer heartbreaking loss to I-91 rival

Story By: Matthew Wiernasz

Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds

HARTFORD, CT-  The Springfield Thunderbirds erased a 2-0 deficit to score five answered goals but it wasn’t enough as their I-91 rival the Hartford Wolf Pack came back with four unanswered goals and defeated the Thunderbirds 6-5 last Friday at the XL Center

The Wolf Pack did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard. Wolf Pack forward Turner Elson took the one-timer as Thunderbirds goaltender Vadim Zherenko as Lauri Pajuniemi put in the rebound to make it 1-0 2:09 into the opening period.

Will Cuylle was able to put in a rebound for his 22nd goal of the season for the Wolf Pack to make it 2-0 with 10:29 remaining in the second period.

The Thunderbirds would then score five unanswered goals.  Martin Frk would score his team-leading 28th goal of the season as he took the wrist shot that would beat Wolf Pack goaltender Louie Domingue to make it 2-1.

There was a delayed penalty call on the Wolf Pack. When T-Birds goaltender Zherenko went to the bench that would have the extra attacker go on the ice. T-Birds defenseman Scott Perunovich and forward Matthew Peca made diagonal passes that would forward Greg Printz to put the puck into the open net with 5:34 remaining in the second period.

The Thunderbirds would get a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period and take advantage when Matthew Highmore put the puck in the slot and found Adam Gaudette.  Gaudette was able to put the puck into the open net with 1:21 remaining in the second period to give the T-Birds their first lead of the night to make it 3-2.

The Thunderbirds would have 30 seconds remaining in the power play to start the third period. Matthew Peca was able to take the chance and beat Domingue with the wrist shot 20 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2.

The Thunderbirds would score once again 38 seconds later as Hugh McGing made the pass to Will Bitten went on a partial breakaway and would beat Domingue stick side to make it 5-2.  During the goal celebration, Wolf Pack defenseman Adam Clendenberg would hit Bitten up high and would receive a roughing penalty.

The Wolf Pack would start a comeback with four answered goals.  Will Cuylle scored his second goal of the game with 13:55 remaining in regulation to make it 5-3.

With Domingue on the bench and the Wolf Pack on the power play, they took advantage as it was 6-on-4. Jake Leschyshyn would find Jonny Brodzinski and Brodzinski would beat Zherenko with 3:02 remaining in regulation to make it 5-4.

The Wolf Pack would return to the power play with 3:14 remaining in regulation. Domingue would be on the bench for a 6-on-4 power play. Tanner Fritz would tie the game for the Wolf Pack with 2:38 remaining in regulation as he beat Zherenko glove side to make it 5-5.

The Wolf Pack would then go on another power play as Matthew Highmore was called for a delay of game penalty. Will Cuylle would score the game-winning goal for the Wolf Pack and complete the hat trick with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to make it 6-5.

It was only the second win for the Wolf Pack against the Thunderbirds this season.

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