T-Birds, Bruins to Play Preseason Home-and-Home SetSep 28, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds will get their chance to tune up in advance of the 2018-19 AHL season this weekend as they play a pair of games against their arch-rivals, the Providence Bruins. The two clubs will meet on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. tilt at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Rhode Island before turning around to square off at the MassMutual Center for a 3:05 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon.
The Thunderbirds will face the Bruins 14 times in the regular season, the most of any opponent on their AHL schedule. Springfield earned points in seven of the 14 matchups in 2017-18, posting a 5-7-1-1 record in those games.
Springfield fans will have the potential to get their first looks at a number of new players in the preseason exhibitions. Leading the batch of newcomers is Paul Thompson, who makes his second stint as a Thunderbirds following a 24-goal campaign with the Chicago Wolves in 2017-18.
Another veteran addition is forward Harry Zolnierczyk, who signed with the Thunderbirds after putting up a career-high 21 goals with the Milwaukee Admirals last season. Zolnierczyk also skated with the Nashville Predators in 2016-17, when the Preds reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in team history.
Along with Thompson and Zolnierczyk, the Thunderbirds should also see an influx of young talent join the franchise in 2018. Among them are forwards Jonathan Ang and Patrick Bajkov, as well as defenseman Riley Stillman.
Ang is coming off a 70-point season with the Peterborough Petes and Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. He was originally a fourth-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Bajkov, an undrafted player out of the Everett Silvertips' Western Hockey League franchise, set Everett's franchise records in goals, assists, and points in his junior career, which culminated in a 100-point season in 2017-18.
Stillman, whose father Cory won two Stanley Cups with Tampa Bay and Carolina, completed his OHL career by winning a league title for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2017-18. He scored 21 points in 33 games, then added 14 more points (5g, 9a) in 21 playoff contests.
Fans already with 2018-19 Springfield Thunderbirds full season, 22 game or 10 game packages received preseason game tickets as part of their ticket package.All other fans can purchase tickets to Sunday's preseason matinee by clicking here.
The Thunderbirds' regular season opens on Saturday, October 6 in Wilkes-Barre for a 7:05 p.m. tilt with the Penguins. Springfield then returns home for Opening Night presented by MGM Springfield on Saturday, October 13 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Prior to the 7:05 p.m. puck drop, the team will host a Pregame Block Party presented by Community Bank at the MGM Springfield outdoor plaza. Festivities will include live music by the band Unusually Normal, as well as a red carpet introduction of the Thunderbirds players. The party begins at 3:30 p.m. For tickets, click here.