T-Birds Look to Start New Win Streak in CharlotteNov 7, 2019
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Springfield Thunderbirds (8-5-0-0) take to the road this weekend for a pair of contests against the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers (4-5-1-0) at the Bojangles' Coliseum. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, and the second half of the back-to-back gets underway at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The Checkers picked up a win in the first matchup between the two Atlantic Division rivals this season back on Oct. 6 in Springfield. Charlotte earned the 4-2 victory behind a 33-save performance by veteran netminder Anton Forsberg. Ethan Prow and Brady Keeper scored the two Thunderbirds goals in the defeat, and for each player, it marked his first goal with the team.
Springfield's six-game win streak came to an end at the hands of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday morning, as Christopher Gibson shut out the Thunderbirds on 22 shots in a 1-0 win. It was the second time this season that the Thunderbirds suffered a 1-0 defeat.
In the prior six contests, the Thunderbirds offense spearheaded the winning streak with an average of five goals per game. Heading into this weekend's action, the Thunderbirds sit in the top-10 among AHL teams in goals for (3.38, 8th), and goals against (2.23, 1st). Chris Driedger and Philippe Desrosiers have combined to post a save percentage of .933, and Driedger's .941 mark is fourth-best among AHL netminders.
Rookie Owen Tippett is the early-season leader in point production, as the 20-year-old has tallied 11 points (6g, 5a) over the first 13 games of the Thunderbirds season. Since his arrival to Springfield, Aleksi Saarela has found the back of the net twice over his last three games. The former Checker scored 55 goals over the past two regular seasons with Charlotte.
The Checkers, meanwhile, look to get back to their championship form of a season ago, having lost three straight contests entering play on Friday. Second-year pro Morgan Geekie's nine points in 10 games leads the Checkers in the early season, but the centerman also has a -10 rating. Nine of Charlotte's 29 goals this season have come on a power play that sits eighth-best in the AHL at a 20.9% success rate.
Following this weekend's road trip, the Thunderbirds return home for the annual T-Birds 101 School Day game on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10:35 a.m. against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.