T-Birds Kick Off I-91 Rivalry in Hartford

Nov 16, 2016
Hartford, CT– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-5-1-0) begin a stretch of three games in four nights against new opponents this evening as they visit the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-8-2-0) at the XL Center in Hartford for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop.
Tonight marks the first of ten regular season matchups between the clubs, who met in the preseason on Oct. 8 at the MassMutual Center. On that evening, the Thunderbirds prevailed 3-0 thanks to the strength of a trio of third period goals.
The regular season has brought mixed results for the two clubs. The Thunderbirds just completed a stretch of three consecutive three-game weekends, finishing with a record of 4-4-1 in those nine games. The Wolf Pack, meanwhile, have scuffled since winning three of their first five games. Hartford has lost each of its last eight contests, including six in regulation. 
Among the troublesome numbers for the Wolf Pack are a league-worst goals-against average of 4.31 per game, a league-worst goal differential of minus-23, and a pair of special teams units that rank in the bottom-three in the AHL.
The Thunderbirds enter play on Wednesday night sitting just two points back of second-place Lehigh Valley in the Atlantic Division. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins sit atop the Atlantic Divison and the league with a 10-2-1 record. 
Springfield has been a steady road team in the early season, winning four of its first six games away from the MassMutual Center. They've done that despite scoring a division-low 31 goals. On the contrary, the Thunderbirds defense is the second-best in the Eastern Conference behind only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with just 30 goals against in 13 games.
The veteran leaders have provided the most offensive punch of late for Geordie Kinnear's Thunderbirds. Captain Brent Regner has points in four of his last six games and is coming off a pair of games that saw him score his first goal and add two assists. Regner's leadership has also shined through in the form of a team-best +8 rating, tied for fifth-best in the AHL.
Like Regner, alternate captain Paul Thompson has been a steady contributor for Springfield. The veteran winger sits atop all Thunderbirds players with four goals, five assists, nine points, and 23 penalty minutes. He has recorded at least a point in five of his last six games.

The Thunderbirds, though, continue to be anchored between the pipes, thanks in large part to Reto Berra. In five road starts, Berra has recorded a 4-1-0 record with three shutouts, all while allowing just six total goals in those five games. For his splendid weekend's performance last week, he was rewarded with the CCM/AHL Player of the Week honor, the first such award recipient in Thunderbirds history.
After the mid-week game in Hartford, Springfield will quickly depart on Thursday in preparation for a visit to New York and a date with the Utica Comets on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. From there, the Thunderbirds will return home for their first matchup of the season with the Providence Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET. The night marks a doubleheader featuring a special game involving the Boston Bruins Alumni Team. 
Fans can get into both the Bruins Alumni game and the Thunderbirds game with a purchase of a Thunderbirds game ticket. Packages are available by visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
Coverage of all Thunderbirds games can be heard on NewsRadio 560 WHYN and via the iHeartRadio app.
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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