T-Birds Host Bears for Final Home Ice Contest of 2017Dec 29, 2017
Springfield, MA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (13-18-1-1) play host to their final home game of 2017 on Friday night as they welcome the Hershey Bears (14-16-0-3) for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at the MassMutual Center. The night also welcomes WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on Yes! Night.
The Bears have had a tough go of it lately, losing five of their last seven games. In four of those contests the Bears have managed a single goal or been shut out. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers got the better of Hershey an evening ago at the Webster Bank Arena, defeating the Bears by a final count of 3-1.
Despite the offensive inconsistencies of late, the Bears do still possess the AHL's leading scorer, Chris Bourque (11g, 25a), while fellow reigning AHL All-Star Classic performer Travis Boyd has contributed 24 points for Hershey.
The Thunderbirds close out their five-game homestand on Friday night having earned points in each of their prior five home games (4-0-0-1). Springfield lost its home-ice winning streak in a hard-fought shootout loss last Saturday at the hands of the Providence Bruins. After Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Alex Grenier scored in the game's opening four minutes, the two teams were kept off the scoresheet through overtime, with Jordan Binnington and Sam Montembeault keeping their oppositions at bay.
In the 2-1 loss, the Thunderbirds did see two players extend point streaks, as Dryden Hunt and Rob Hamilton each tallied power play assists on Grenier's one-timer early in the first. Hunt has points in each of his first two games back with the Thunderbirds following an 11-game stay with the NHL's Florida Panthers.
Montembeault has been the mainstay on the back line for Springfield, making five consecutive starts heading into tonight's matchup. In his last five starts, the 21-year-old rookie is 3-1-0-1 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.53 goals against average.
The last time Springfield and Hershey met, the Thunderbirds snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Bears, knocking them off for the first time in franchise history on Nov. 22 in a 2-1 triumph at the Giant Center.
Springfield enters play tonight three points behind Hershey in the Atlantic Division standings, and seven points behind fourth-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Following action Friday, the Thunderbirds play five of their next six contests away from home, beginning with a Saturday night matchup in Hartford against the Wolf Pack. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.