Story By: Matthew Wiernasz
Photo Courtesy of the Springfield Thunderbirds
SPRINGFIELD, MA- Thunderbirds forward Adam Gaudette scored the game-winning goal 4:08 remaining in regulation as they defeated the Providence Bruins 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds had a rough second period as Thunderbirds Head Coach Drew Bannister gave his thoughts.
” Yeah I mean, we weren’t really happy with our second period at all. You know we were definitely a step behind. Pretty much that period, we relied on Z (Zherenko) who had a good period for us. Kept us in that game really to give us an opportunity to kind of get ourselves into the third (period) and get us through the second period and kind of settle ourselves down. But certainly, you know they came out and scored that gave us some energy which we really needed because we just didn’t seem to have the energy at that time.” Bannister Said
” We were much a better team in game one than we were today. You know this one of quite honestly we didn’t deserve to win the game. The way the second period went I mean the first (period) you know was fine. It was the way it went. But you know the third period, we were good at times. But again, we kind of killed our momentum with those penalties we took. There were lazy penalties like for the ones for the refs to call.” Bannister continued
Thunderbirds Captain Matthew Peca got his team on the board on a delayed penalty call on Providence. Thunderbirds defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk took the wrist shot and Bruins goaltender Brendan Bussi tried to make the save but the puck came out. Peca was able to score with 12:12 remaining in the first period to make it 1-0. Nathan Walker and Dylan Coghlan would receive the assists.
Providence would respond in the second period. John Farinacci would put in the rebound with the backhand over the glove of Zherenko to tie the game at 1-1. The Bruins would then get their first lead of the afternoon as Fairnacci would find Luke Toporowski. Toporowski scored on a one-timer to make it 2-1 for the Bruins.
The Thunderbirds would come out with a bang in the third period as Nathan Walker was able to tie the game nine seconds into the third period as he would get his second goal of the weekend to make it 2-2. Adam Gaudette and Calle Rosen would receive the assists
Thunderbirds rookie forward Zachary Bolduc scored his first pro goal in the American Hockey League. Bolduc was on an odd-man rush and fired the shot over the blocker of Bussi over four minutes later to make it 3-2.
The Bruins would respond quickly as Reilly Walsh fired the slap shot and Marc McLaughlin tipped it in to get a power play goal for the Bruins to tie the game with 6:39 remaining in regulation to even the score at 3-3.
Thunderbirds forward Adam Gaudette would score the game-winning goal as he fired the snapshot that went under the crossbar to make it 4-3.
Zherenko made 38 saves in the team win. Bannister believes Zherenko has matured a lot from last season.
” I think just you know from last year and what he went through just to get here in the travel and stuck in a hotel was quite an ordeal. He came in and played well. But you could see as the year went on towards the end of the year. He started to kind of break down a little bit which is not unusual for the younger goalie. He’s had a good summer. He’s come in great shape. You know he’s different. He’s a big goalie. He’s very athletic.” Bannister Said
Bruins goaltender Brendan Bussi made 20 saves in the team loss.