Former Montreal Canadiens prospect Will Bitten had a career night, scoring four goals to lead the Springfield Thunderbirds to a 6-3 road victory over the Laval Rocket in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
The Thunderbirds lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one, with Game 4 set for Friday.
Bitten scored once late in the second period and three times in the third, giving him seven goals and 14 points in nine games this postseason. His shorthanded goal at 5:59 of the third gave him the first hat trick of his pro career.
A third-round pick by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL Draft, Bitten was traded to the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 3, 2018, just before the start of his rookie season. He told TheAHL.com’s Patrick Williams last week that he was excited to face his former organization. Bitten joined the Thunderbirds after being acquired by St. Louis on Dec. 29, 2021, and notched 25 points in 45 regular-season games with Springfield.
Nathan Todd and Hugh McGing added goals for the Thunderbirds, who improved to 5-0-0 all-time at Laval’s Place Bell. Mackenzie MacEachern registered three assists, and Dakota Joshua and Nikita Alexandrov had two helpers apiece.
Joel Hofer (6-0) made 37 saves on the night for Springfield; Hofer has faced at least 35 shots in each of his six postseason starts and has a .958 save percentage.
Cayden Primeau (7-3) stopped 37 of 42 shots for Laval.
A2-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 1 – Sat., June 4 – SPRINGFIELD 2, Laval 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., June 5 – Laval 4, SPRINGFIELD 2
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Springfield 6, LAVAL 3
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 13 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern