Nelson's Dryden Hunt nets hat-trick to lead T-Birds to victory
The Springfield Thunderbirds, the minor-league affiliate for the NHL’s Florida Panthers, have experienced a slow start out of the starting gates this American Hockey League season.
However, Nelson’s Dryden Hunt helped the T-Birds to its first win of the season Sunday, scoring a hat-trick to spark the home side to a 7-4 victory over the Belleville Senators in the first-ever AHL meeting between the clubs Sunday in Springfield.
Hunt, signing with Florida as a free agent after capturing the Western Hockey League’s top honour as player of the year, scored in all three periods for the T-Birds.
Hunt is a Nelson Minor Hockey grad who played junior in the WHL for Regina and Medicine Hat. He went undrafted and signed entry-level contract with Florida on March 2, 2016.
The hat-trick gives Hunt four goals on the season.
During his first season with the AHL team, the 6-foot, 200-pound forward finished with 13 goals, 18 assists for 31 points in 70 games for Springfield after starting in the East Coast Hockey League with Manchester Monarchs.
Springfield finished sixth in 2016-17 with a 32-33-9-2 record.
Springfield returns to action Wednesday as the club visits Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Lehigh Valley s the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers affiliate.