T-BIRDS HOST CHECKERS, MARLIES TO START 3-IN-3Feb 14, 2019
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (21-20-6-4) will look to gain ground in the Atlantic Division playoff race during a three-game weekend beginning on Friday in Springfield. The T-Birds begin the weekend with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Charlotte Checkers (32-13-6-1) on Friday night before welcoming the Toronto Marlies (25-17-5-3) on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
Springfield concludes the weekend by paying a visit to the Providence Bruins (26-17-6-1) on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Friday night matchup against the Checkers is just the second of four total meetings between Springfield and Charlotte this season. The Checkers stunned the Thunderbirds, erasing a late Springfield lead to come away with a 5-4 overtime win on Dec. 8 at the MassMutual Center. The first-place Checkers have undergone their toughest stretch of the season in recent days, though. Charlotte is just 2-4-3-1 in its last ten games.
On Saturday, the Thunderbirds get a second crack at the Toronto Marlies after falling 4-2 at the Coca-Cola Coliseum on Saturday evening. Springfield held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Toronto came back on both occasions. The Marlies, however, are expected to be without a few key performers, including Chris Mueller, who scored his 23rd goal of the season in Saturday's Toronto win. Defenseman Timothy Lilljegren and forward Mason Marchment are also not expected to play for the defender Calder Cup champions. Toronto area natives Jonathan Ang and Thomas Schemitsch each scored for Springfield in Ontario a week ago, while Sam Montembeault turned away 24 of 27 shots in the Springfield goal crease.
The Thunderbirds then have a chance to gain ground on the Providence Bruins in a head-to-head matchup on Sunday afternoon in Providence. Springfield is 4-3-0-1 through eight of 14 season meetings with the Bruins, but the Bruins have won each of the last two contests inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center, each by a single goal. Five of the first eight games between the clubs in 2018-19 have been decided by just one goal.
Friday night marks another 3-2-1 Friday inside the Thunderdome, featuring the MGM Springfield Pregame Concert Series beginning at 6:00 p.m. Concession deals include $3 Coors Light drafts, $2 hot dogs, and $1 sodas through the end of the first period of play. Friday's game is proudly presented by Balise Car Wash. Then on Saturday, it's Hockey Night in Springfield presented by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. The first 1,000 kids aged 12 and under will receive a Thunderbirds youth hockey jersey.
Fans looking to purchase tickets to either game can do so by visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or by calling (413) 739-GOAL (4625).