T-Birds Aim to Vanquish Comets on RoadJan 25, 2017
(Photo Courtesy Lindsay A. Mogle/Utica Comets)
Utica, NY- The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-17-6-2), who have lost their last five contests, will look to break that trend as they visit the Utica Comets (18-16-5-1) on Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 p.m. ET.
The two clubs have only met one other time this season, back on Nov. 18 in Utica. In that game, an offensive shootout commenced with Springfield racing out to a 3-0 lead just over 20 minutes into the game on goals by Sena Acolatse, MacKenzie Weegar and Dryden Hunt. The Comets would not go away, though, and by virtue of scoring four of the game's next five goals, Utica tied the score in the closing minutes of the third on a penalty shot conversion by Curtis Valk.
In the extra period, Utica picked up the win under bizarre circumstances as Darren Archibald beat Mike McKenna on a backhanded breakaway, a goal that was not deemed to be a successful at the time of the play. As action resumed, Archibald picked up yet another breakaway and was pulled down, drawing a penalty shot.
However, the Comets' forward did not need to be summoned back to the red line, as video replay showed his first attempt squeaked past the goal line despite the best efforts of Springfield's Mike Downing to save it. At the time, it was Springfield's third out of what would become seven straight defeats.
This time around, the Thunderbirds will look to end a five-game slide, one that has seen Springfield score just nine goals in the last five contests. The Thunderbirds have dropped four of those five games by just a single goal, with the lone two-goal game being the result of a late empty-net goal by Bridgeport on Jan. 20.
Utica, much unlike in the month of November, has been playing strong hockey of late, climbing into the fourth and final playoff spot in the AHL's North Division standings. The Comets have won six in a row and eight of their last ten games. Goaltender Richard Bachman captured CCM AHL Player of the Week honors last week by virtue of his 3-0-0 record in three road contests. Thatcher Demko got the win in the last meeting with the T-Birds, stopping 27 shots in the 5-4 overtime victory.
The Thunderbirds (38 points), despite their skid, are still just nine points back of playoff position in the Atlantic Division standings, as the Hershey Bears (47 points) have fallen in nine of their last ten games. Springfield will have a chance to earn points back against Hershey head-to-head on Saturday in Springfield.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.