T-Birds' 3-in-3 Opens vs. RochesterDec 8, 2017
Springfield, MA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (9-15-1-0) begin their third three-game weekend of the season on Friday as they welcome the Rochester Americans (12-5-3-2) to the MassMutual Center for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
The Thunderbirds are looking to get back on track after dropping a pair of games on the road in Charlotte last Friday and Sunday, including a narrow 4-3 defeat on Sunday that saw Springfield lose hold of a 3-1 lead.
The Americans, who are 3-1-0-0 lifetime against the Thunderbirds, enter Springfield a much improved team from a season ago. After finishing sixth in the North Division and missing the playoffs in 2016-17, the Americans have raced out to a second-place start to the new season, earning points in 17 of their first 22 contests.
The Buffalo Sabres' AHL affiliates have picked up points in their last six games, going 3-0-2-1 in that stretch. They went 1-1-0-0 at the MassMutual Center last season, falling in their last visit by a score of 2-0 last March 12. Current American and former Thunderbird Adam Wilcox picked up the win that afternoon for Springfield, stopping all 26 shots he saw.
T-Birds leading goal scorer Anthony Greco scored the game-winner in the last meeting against Rochester and has carried over a strong finish from 2016-17 into an 8-goal start to 2017-18 through 25 games. Tonight would be Greco's 100th game as a Thunderbird, should he be in the lineup.
The Thunderbirds will be relying upon a tandem of rookie professional goaltenders with the recent recall of Harri Sateri to the Florida Panthers, on the heels of an injury to Panthers starter Roberto Luongo.
Sam Montembeault has taken the most losses in the AHL this season with nine of them, but the 21-year-old from Quebec has been better of late for Springfield. In his last four starts, Montembeault has a save percentage of .916 and a goals against average of 2.55. That includes his first pro shutout, a 4-0 blanking of the Charlotte Checkers on Nov. 17.
Evan Cowley has rejoined the Thunderbirds after spending time in the ECHL with the Manchester Monarchs. In his lone AHL start, Cowley picked up the T-Birds' first win of the season, a 7-4 triumph over Belleville on Oct. 22.
Up front, Jayce Hawryluk has been the hottest contributor of late for the Thunderbirds, picking up points in each of his last four contests after starting the season with just six points in his first 19 games.
Springfield continues a busy December stretch on Saturday, Dec. 9 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Saturday's game marks the 2nd Annual T-Birds Teddy Bear Toss presented by Teddy Bear Pools & Spas. Fans are encouraged to bring in new or gently used stuffed animals to throw onto the ice in celebration of Springfield's first goal. The bears, in turn, will be donated to local charities this holiday season.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and Thunderbirds Full Season Ticket Members receive the most benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug and a commemorative jersey. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.