T-Birds Host Phantoms on Bruce Landon Legacy NightMar 3, 2017
Springfield, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (22-24-8-2) will look to pick up a team record fifth consecutive win at the MassMutual Center on Friday as they welcome the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (34-17-3-0) on Friday night for a 7:05 p.m. ET start.
Prior to puck drop, it will be a special evening for Springfield hockey as longtime player, general manager, owner, and executive Bruce Landon will be honored before the puck drop for his five decades of service in the AHL.
The Phantoms and Thunderbirds meet for the second consecutive Friday night, a week after Springfield dispatched Lehigh Valley 5-3 behind a four-goal second period blitz. Paul Thompson and Dryden Hunt each scored two goals and added a helper for the Thunderbirds in the victory on Feb. 24. Denis Malgin also added three assists.
Since breaking a goal scoring drought that dated back to Dec. 9, Hunt has now scored four goals in his last four games, including the game's opening tally in Springfield's latest contest, a 4-3 overtime loss in Hartford on Wednesday.
There will be a new look to the Springfield lineup following a trio of trade deadline transactions earlier in the week. Goaltender Adam Wilcox will likely make his Springfield debut on Friday night after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning organization on Wednesday. The 24-year-old former Minnesota Golden Gopher had posted an 18-9-2-2 record for the Syracuse Crunch before being swapped for Mike McKenna. A 2014 Hobey Baker Award finalist, Wilcox was a collegiate teammate of Thunderbirds forward Kyle Rau.
On defense, the Thunderbirds will feature another new blueliner with the acquisition of Reece Scarlett from the New Jersey Devils organization in exchange for Shane Harper. Scarlett, 23, is already in his fourth AHL season, and the steady defenseman has registered four goals and 21 points in 50 games in Albany this year.
The other trade deadline transaction impacting the Thunderbirds was a deal between the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings that sent Dylan McIlrath to the Grand Rapids Griffins after reassignment by the Red Wings. The Panthers received NHL veteran Thomas Vanek in that deal.
The Phantoms have no roster changes from the prior week, and Lehigh Valley will look to get back on a winning track against a Springfield team they defeated in all three of the clubs' first meetings prior to Feb. 24. Anthony Stolarz has earned the start in the Lehigh Valley net in each of those contests, going 3-1-0-0 with a 3.27 goals against average and .906 save percentage. Former Springfield Falcon Greg Carey has been a nightmare for the Thunderbirds' penalty kill, as the AHL's leading power play goal scorer has struck five times in four games.
For the first time since Christmas Eve, the Thunderbirds take Saturday off before they hit the road for their final regular season contest against the Hershey Bears from the Giant Center on Sunday. Puck drop is set for 5:00 p.m. ET.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.