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Bruins Top T-Birds in Shootout

Bruins Top T-Birds in Shootout

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It was a matchup of two Atlantic Division rivals at MassMutual Center on Saturday night as the Springfield Thunderbirds matched up with the Providence Bruins. Fresh off of a goal-scoring spree a day earlier, Springfield once again put the puck in the net and allowed some goals against, but this time fell on the wrong side of a shootout as Vinni Lettieri tied the game in the last 30 seconds and scored the decisive goal in the shootout to lift the Bruins to a 4-3 victory on the road. Keith Kinkaid earned the win with 34 saves while Vadim Zherenko made 42 stops in the loss.

It was another seesaw affair for the Thunderbirds, who vaulted to a 2-0 lead as they did a day ago, starting with Will Bitten’s third goal of the season.

Springfield followed up just 14 seconds into the second period when Matthew Highmore scored his second goal of the season by pulling the puck past the Providence defense and beating Kinkaid to double the lead for the home team.

As has been the case for Springfield, however, the game went off the rails in the second period when Providence tallied two goals of their own to tie the score. John Beecher got his first goal of the season and Luke Toporowski chipped in his third of the campaign with just over three minutes left in the second to draw even.

The Thunderbirds would take the lead again with Nathan Todd’s latest goal on the power play to take a 3-2 lead into intermission. Todd’s tally continues his hot start to the season with seven goals in seven games and nine points overall, putting him three off of his total output in the entire regular season a year ago in 49 games and atop the AHL in goals as of this writing.

Springfield nearly made the lead stand up, but Providence pressed on the power play with three opportunities in the final frame and outshot the Thunderbirds by a 17-3 count. It took nearly all twenty minutes, but their final attempts ended up being their best as Lettieri beat Zherenko with a one-timer from the left circle to knot the score at three. Fabian Lysell tallied an assist on the goal to bring him up to eight points on the season and has at least one point in all five games he’s played in for Providence this season. The goal brings Lettieri up to nine points. Providence would fire five shots to Springfield’s one, but the teams would go to the skills competition where Lettieri would be the only shooter to beat the netminder and lift the Bruins to the extra point.

It continues a recent trend for Springfield to give up a lot of shots in the final stanza and still hang on. This time, it bit the Thunderbirds as they walked away with only one point as opposed to the two they should have had. The win for Providence lifts them to second place in the Atlantic Division, while earning the team’s second win in as many games. Springfield extends their point streak to four games but sees their winning streak snapped at three. The teams rematch at Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence for a 3:05 PM EST puck drop to cap off their respective weekends.

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