SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-27-3-0) could not overcome a first period burst by the Providence Bruins (36-18-3-3) in a 4-2 defeat on Saturday’s Pink in the Rink night inside a sold-out MassMutual Center.
The Bruins quickly went on the offensive in pursuit of their 10th consecutive win, and at just the 7:09 marker in the game, they opened the scoring as Ryan Fitzgerald cashed into an empty goal from the left-wing side off a steal and centering pass from Paul Carey. It was already the Bruins’ ninth shot attempt of the game on Ryan Bednard, who had to face 14 shots in the first 20 minutes of game action.
Providence would add to its lead at 14:37 when Trent Frederic – given room at the left point to crank up a slap shot – blistered the puck through traffic and past Bednard to extend the Bruins’ advantage, 2-0.
The first period would not end without fireworks in the form of two separate sets of fighting majors in bouts between Frederic and Danick Martel, as well as Ryan Haggerty against Wiley Sherman.
After serving his fight, Martel finally got the T-Birds on the board at 6:20 of the second when he took a face-off drop feed from Rodrigo Abols, skated to the left-wing corner, and elevated a shot that ricocheted off Max Lagace and into the Providence goal to cut the lead in half, 2-1.
Springfield would get two power play bids to add to their total, but Lagace and Providence stood their ground, and Zach Senyshyn gave his team some extra insurance at 14:57 to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Senyshyn streaked to the goal on the right side, and Brendan Gaunce’s centering pass found its way through Bednard via the shin pad of Senyshyn.
Lagace’s strong night continued into the final period, as he made a beautiful right pad save on Haggerty on the doorstep to maintain the two-goal Bruin lead.
With a fifth power play chance in the final minute of the period, Martel deflected an Ethan Prow wrister past Lagace from in front of the crease to make it a 3-2 game with 45 seconds to play.
The goal proved to be too little, too late though, as Jack Studnicka cleared a puck into an empty net with just 13 seconds to go and round out Providence’s 10th consecutive victory.
For more ticket information or to become a 2020-21 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.