T-Birds Host Bears on Bobble Election Night

Nov 4, 2016
Springfield, MA– The Springfield Thunderbirds (5-2-0), winners of their last two games and five of the last six, will begin a three-game, three-night weekend on Friday as they host the Hershey Bears (3-2-2) for their first meeting at the MassMutual Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Fans arriving to the game early can park for free on a first-come, first-served basis at the Civic Center garage (show ticket upon exit). Tonight marks the T-Birds inaugural Bobble Election, with Thunderbird-equipped bobbleheads of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The first of the candidates to run out of their supply will be declared the winner of the Bobble Election.
On the ice, the Thunderbirds look to tie a franchise record as they seek their third consecutive victory. They are coming off of 2-1 and 2-0 victories respectively last Saturday and Sunday. Springfield erased a 1-0 third period deficit on a power play goal by Paul Thompson before getting an overtime winner from Chase Balisy on Oct. 29 at the MassMutual Center against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The next afternoon, the Thunderbirds blanked Bridgeport by a 2-0 final score thanks to 28 saves from Reto Berra. The 29-year-old goaltender is now 3-1-0 on the season with a goals-against average of just 1.50.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Bears come to Springfield to begin the clubs' six-game season series. The two divisional rivals will meet three times in the month of November alone, including a future home-and-home series on Nov. 25-26. 
The Bears have earned a point in each of their last five games after starting 0-2-0. Troy Mann's club has received valuable contributions from forwards Jakub Vrana (five goals), Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd (six points each) in the early season. 
Much the same way the Thunderbirds have received strong goaltending from a pair of netminders, the Bears have a similar duo in Joe Cannata and Vitek Vanecek. Cannata is 2-0-1 since a rough season-opening game that saw him allow five goals on just 12 shots in Rochester on Oct. 14.
Vanecek is coming off of a 3-2 victory last Sunday in Hershey over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The native of the Czech Republic sits near the top of the AHL leaders in net with a .933 save percentage.
For Springfield, Balisy will look to become the first-ever Thunderbird to have a point streak of three games or more. The Fullerton, Calif. native has a goal and two assists in the last two Thunderbirds victories.
Tonight's game also marks the second installment of $1 Night and the Pregame Concert Series presented by MGM Springfield featuring musical performances by John & Christine Cantalini. Through the start of the second period, hot dogs, sodas, and popcorn will be sold for just one dollar.
The Thunderbirds will continue their second of three straight three-game weekends on Saturday night when they visit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, looking to exact revenge from a 4-2 loss on Oct. 15 in the club's inaugural game.
Springfield then returns to the MassMutual center on Sunday afternoon for a 5:05 p.m. puck drop against the Binghamton Senators. The afternoon marks the first Friendly's Sundae Funday of the year. Packages for the day begin at $44 and feature four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, four small popcorns, and four Friendly's Ice Cream Sundae coupons. 
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).
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