T-Birds Fly into St. John's for 2-Game SetDec 9, 2016
St. John's, NL– The Springfield Thunderbirds (9-8-3-2), who have earned five of a possible six points in their last three contests, make their lone trip to Newfoundland & Labrador for a pair of matchups with the St. John's IceCaps (12-11-1-0) beginning on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Thunderbirds have had the IceCaps' number in the young season to date, winning both games at the MassMutual Center on Oct. 22 and Nov. 11. In the Thunderbirds' home opener, Springfield erased a 4-2 third period deficit thanks to Dryden Hunt's three-point night, and MacKenzie Weegar completed the comeback with the overtime game-winning goal in front of the sellout home crowd.
Just three weeks later, the Thunderbirds received a phenomenal goaltending performance from Reto Berra, who allowed just one goal in the final minutes of a 3-1 triumph on Nov. 11. Amongst Berra's 20 stops on the night was a penalty shot denial of Mark MacMillan in the second period. Sena Acolatse andStephen MacAulay provided goals before an empty-netter sealed a 3-1 win for Springfield at the MassMutual Center.
The IceCaps enter the weekend in the midst of an eight-game homestand, during which time they have recorded a record of 3-3-0-0. The IceCaps are coming off of a 3-2 overtime win on Dec. 4 at the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. St. John's will look to pick up its first set of consecutive victories since Nov. 18-19 on Friday night.
St. John's, though, will be without the services of co-leading goal scorer Nikita Scherbak, who will sit out due to injury. The IceCaps should, however, get Charles Hudon back offensively, following a brief trip up to the Montreal Canadiens. Hudon has 14 points in 15 games for St. John's this season, including nine goals. Hudon scored a pair of goals on Oct. 22 in Springfield against the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds have been statistically better away from home, going 5-3-2-1 in their first 11 road contests. Including tonight in St. John's, Springfield plays six of its next seven games away from the MassMutual Center. Ironically, the Thunderbirds have just four victories in 11 home games, while they have yet to lose back-to-back regulation games away from Springfield.
Former IceCap Tim Bozon made the difference for the Thunderbirds in a 4-2 win in Hartford on Wednesday against the Wolf Pack. Bozon's goal on an odd-man rush in the second period provided the difference on a night when Mike McKenna made a franchise record 32 saves in his 400th career AHL game. McKenna is 2-0-2 in his last four games, but he has allowed only two goals in each of those games.
Coverage of tonight's and tomorrow's games on the Rock will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET. All games in the 2016-17 season can be heard on NewsRadio 560 WHYN or via the iHeartRadio app.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season 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).