Springfield Thunderbirds’ rally falls short against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Published: 11/22/2019 11:03:48 PM
Modified: 11/22/2019 11:03:35 PM

The Springfield Thunderbirds cut a three-goal deficit to one, but could not complete the comeback try, falling 4-2 to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Friday night at the MassMutual Center.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead 2:43 into the opening period when Andrew Agozzino won a face-off straight back to David Warsofsky. The veteran blueliner’s shot created a rebound off Chris Driedger’s pad, where Sam Miletic arrived first to hit Agozzino in the blue paint for the tap-in goal.

The Penguins added to their lead 10:07 after Agozzino’s goal as Thomas di Pauli beat two T-Birds to a rebound before depositing his first goal of the season.

Casey DeSmith stopped all 10 shots that came his way in the opening frame for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while Driedger stopped 13 of 15. DeSmith had entered Friday’s action having stopped 104 of 105 shots over his last three starts.

The Penguins (11-5-1-1) struck on their first power play in the second period when Stefan Noesen tapped home a diagonal feed from Agozzino at 6:14. Springfield (11-8-0-0) answered on its first power play less than a minute later, and with pressure around the net, Blaine Byron picked up a loose puck off an Owen Tippett shot and a Paul Thompson jab to pop it by DeSmith to cut the lead to 3-1 at 7:15.

The Thunderbirds’ power play found a connection in the third to bring the score to 3-2, but only after DeSmith made multiple saves, including a diving glove stop on Byron at the near post. Henrik Borgstrom broke through DeSmith at the 5:21 mark of the third with the T-Birds on a 5-on-3 advantage. After holding the puck in the right circle, Borgstrom stuffed it into the top shelf over a kneeling DeSmith to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Springfield outshoot the Penguins 32-16 in the final 40 minutes of regulation, but they could not find the equalizer. Noesen capped the Penguins’ sixth straight win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

The Thunderbirds host the Providence Bruins at 7 p.m. Saturday for Hockey Fights Cancer night. The T-Birds’ specialty lavender jerseys will be auctioned postgame to benefit various local cancer charities.

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