T-Birds Host Bruins for Teddy Bear Toss & Military AppreciationDec 3, 2016
Springfield, MA– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-8-2-2) will look to win their first contest since Nov. 12 when they welcome the Providence Bruins (8-6-3-3) to the MassMutual Center on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop.
The night marks a pair of promotions that will become staples in Thunderbirds franchise history. The night will feature a special ceremonial puck drop from veteran military personnel on the first Military Appreciation Night in team history, presented by Smith & Wesson.
In addition, fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used stuffed animals into tonight's game and throw them onto the ice for the Thunderbirds' first goal as part of the first Teddy Bear Toss in Thunderbirds history, presented by Teddy Bear Pools and Spas.
The Thunderbirds will be looking to take down a different type of bear on the ice, as they begin a home-and-home series with Providence this evening. The two teams will meet once again tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Providence has earned at least a point in seven consecutive games, while also picking up points in the standings in 10 of its last 11 contests. The Bruins dispatched the Binghamton Senators on Friday night with an impressive 6-2 drubbing in Providence. Zane McIntyre anchored down the back end for the Bruins, stopping 31 pucks for the victory. The Bruins have had a revolving door between the pipes, with four different masked men already seeing time in the Providence goal crease.
When the Bruins and Thunderbirds met for the first time this season on Nov. 19 in Springfield, the Bruins received a 34-save performance from longtime NHL goaltender Anton Khudobin, who was down on a conditioning assignment from Boston. The Thunderbirds dented Khudobin three times in the first two periods, but trailed 4-3 after the second thanks to a three-goal rally by Providence.
In a third period that saw the Thunderbirds launch 20 pucks at Khudobin, it took until the final two minutes for Paul Thompson to capitalize on a fortuitous kick-out bounce from the corner boards to force overtime and a 4-4 tie. The game reached a shootout, where Peter Cehlarik scored the only goal for either side to give the Bruins the victory.
On Friday night, the Thunderbirds could not find power play success despite being handed six opportunities on the man advantage, including a three-minute chance following a match penalty to Connor Jones for a check to the head of Jayce Hawryluk, who did not return following the hit.
Mike Sgarbossa scored the lone goal of the night for Springfield, his second in four games in a Springfield sweater. The recently acquired centerman now has four points in his short time with the Thunderbirds.
Reto Berra picked up what was, in many ways, a hard luck defeat, his fourth consecutive losing decision. Berra made 28 saves and kept his team within a goal until the final moments of the third period when Tanner Fritz's second point of the night put the game away with just under seven minutes to go.
Following Saturday's storm of teddy bears, the Thunderbirds immediately get back on the road to face Providence on Sunday in Rhode Island, the first of a season-high four straight games away from the MassMutual Center.
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).