T-Birds Host Devils in 1st Meeting with Albany

Jan 11, 2017

Springfield, MAThe Springfield Thunderbirds (14-13-4-2) begin a second straight week filled with three games in four nights. Wednesday evening, they play host to the Albany Devils (20-15-0-1) at the MassMutual Center for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop.

It will be a special evening for Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear, who will go head-to-head against Albany for the first time in his coaching career. As a player, Kinnear spent almost a decade with the Albany River Rats, where he served as a team captain, won a Calder Cup championship in the 1994-95 season, and had his number 4 raised to the rafters in Albany seven years later.

Kinnear followed up his playing career in 2001 by immediately joining the Albany franchise in the coaching ranks, a role in which he served as an assistant until 2010. 

The visiting Devils come into Springfield for their first-ever matchup against Kinnear's Thunderbirds riding a second-place position in the AHL's North Division. Albany, though, has lost its last two games and has only seven victories in 18 games away from the Times Union Center. 

The Thunderbirds fell by a 4-1 score in their last game on Saturday against the Providence Bruins at the MassMutual Center. The loss snapped a four-game home winning streak for Springfield dating back to Dec. 3. 

The loss came on the heels of two victories to start the three-game week. The Thunderbirds ousted the Sound Tigers on Jan. 4 in a 3-2 shootout victory, despite giving up a game-tying, shorthanded goal in the game's final minute. Springfield followed up that performance with a 4-1 road victory last Friday in Providence. 

Springfield enters play on Wednesday with 34 points on the season, three behind fifth-place Bridgeport and 11 back of the final playoff position in the Atlantic, currently held by the Hershey Bears.

The Thunderbirds face a tough four-game stretch in terms of opponents' records in the next six nights. Each of Springfield's next three opponents (Albany, Providence, Lehigh Valley) sit in playoff position as of Wednesday morning. Following that stretch, the Thunderbirds will have four straight games against teams on the fringe of playoff position or outside the playoff picture entirely (Bridgeport, Binghamton, Toronto, Utica). 

Tonight marks the second Winning Weekday of the Thunderbirds' season. Fans with a game ticket from Springfield's Jan. 4 win over Bridgeport can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to tonight's contest at the MassMutual Center. Should Springfield win again tonight, the fans in attendance can redeem tonight's game ticket for a free ticket on Monday when the Thunderbirds host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for a special 1:05 p.m. ET puck drop.

Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 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) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.

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