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Frk, Thunderbirds Get Last Laugh Over Islanders

#AHL | @ThunderbirdsAHL pulled out a win over @AHLIslanders thanks in part to the efforts of a familiar name in the American Hockey League. @FPHBears has the recap:

The Thunderbirds are red-hot and on a roll. Photo Courtesy: Springfield Thunderbirds on Twitter.

Frk, Thunderbirds Get Last Laugh Over Islanders

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It was a clash of two fierce Atlantic Division rivals as the Springfield Thunderbirds and the Bridgeport Islanders met up for the seventh time this season. As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds hatred, as the two teams attempted to one-up each other in this game. The Islanders erased a two-goal lead for the host Thunderbirds. Still, Springfield got the last laugh as Martin Frk scored his second goal of the game in overtime to secure the extra point and pull the two teams even in the standings at 35 points each as Bridgeport’s winless skid extended to nine games. Joel Hofer earned the win in goal with 31 saves, while Ken Appleby suffered the loss with 32 stops.

After a scoreless first period, the Thunderbirds did what they do best and lit the lamp a few times in the second period. Frk got the ball rolling with a rocket one-timer on the power play from the left side for his ninth goal of the season. That goal, and the celebration that followed, started some of the shenanigans in the game. As he celebrated with two palms up and looking around, that stuck in the Islanders’ minds for later on. Bridgeport tied the game minutes later with Kyle MacLean’s sixth goal of the year on a nice passing play as Arnaud Durandeau lifted a pass to Blade Jenkins, who quickly slid the puck across the top of the crease to MacLean for the goal.

The Thunderbirds got the lead back minutes later on Keean Washkurak’s first goal of the season, as he took a nifty feed over the blue line and beat the goaltender to re-establish the Springfield lead. Washkurak, now in his second full American Hockey League season, is playing in just his ninth game of the campaign and figures to be a key player for the Thunderbirds as they have been bitten by some recalls and lost personnel in recent times. Springfield added to the lead with minutes to play in the middle stanza with Steven Jandric’s first as a Thunderbird after tallying his first AHL goal in only two games with the Providence Bruins a season ago.

Bridgeport refused to go down quietly against their up-and-coming foe, as William Dufour cut the lead to one only five minutes into the third for his 12th goal of the season. Dufour made a great effort to carry the puck coast-to-coast and establish the zone, then made a great play at the net front to collect the puck and beat Hofer. The Islanders tied the game on a power-play goal by scorer Chris Terry, who ripped a shot from his strong side similar to Frk’s goal and imitated his celebration.

The goal sent the game to overtime, where the Thunderbirds won the game just past the halfway mark. Frk carried the puck into the zone and used the defense as a screen, beating Appleby for his tenth of the season. Fittingly, he capped off the game by performing his celebration again for the extra point. The Thunderbirds continued their climb in the standings with their fourth straight win and pulled into a tie with the Islanders and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins; the Thunderbirds are only two points back of the Charlotte Checkers for as high as third place in the Atlantic Division. Teams from seventh to third place are only separated by four points after Friday’s action, creating a land of opportunity for the division.

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