T-Birds Aim for First Win Over Bears in Hershey

Mar 5, 2017

Hershey, PA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-25-8-2) will look to salvage a victory in the season series finale against the Hershey Bears (30-17-8-2) on Sunday for a 5:00 p.m. ET puck drop at the Giant Center.

The Bears have won four of their last five contests, including a 2-1 triumph on Saturday night over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Hershey has won each of the prior five contests with the Thunderbirds this season.

Springfield has continued to consistently play in very tight games this season, with 47 of their 57 games having been decided by either one or two goals. Three of those contests have come against Hershey. 

The Thunderbirds have received steady offensive contributions of late from leading scorer Chase Balisy and All-Star representative MacKenzie Weegar. Balisy's 31 points are a team-high figure, while Weegar has already set career highs in goals (12) and points (28).

Paul Thompson has also been a driving force for the Thunderbirds since his return to Springfield from the Florida Panthers. The veteran winger has recorded 11 goals and 24 points in just 32 games at the AHL level this season.

The Bears, meanwhile, are looking to continue a climb toward a Calder Cup playoff berth, entering play on Sunday just two points back of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the fourth and final playoff spot from the Atlantic Division. Hershey has won five straight at the Giant Center and holds a splendid 18-6-5-1 mark on home ice.

Chris Bourque has paced the Bears' offense with 16 goals and 49 points, making him the league's fifth-highest scorer this season. Some trade deadline moves brought goaltender Pheonix Copley back to the Capitals organization. Copley is 19-4-3 in two stints as a Bears goaltender and has won both of his starts since being acquired earlier this week. He made 36 saves on 37 shots to preserve the 2-1 win over the Penguins an evening ago.

After the Thunderbirds close their season series with Hershey, they take to the road again for their second meeting with the Syracuse Crunch on Friday, where they may see their old teammate Mike McKenna for Syracuse following a deadline day deal that brought Adam Wilcox to the Thunderbirds. Wilcox was removed from his first start as a Thunderbird in Springfield's narrow 5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley on Friday. 

Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.

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