T-Birds Open Home & Home with BearsNov 25, 2016
Springfield, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-5-2-2) return from a brief Thanksgiving break to host the Hershey Bears (9-4-3-1) for the first half of a home-and-home series at the MassMutual Center on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The two clubs met once previously this season, a 3-2 Hershey overtime victory in Springfield on Nov. 4. The Thunderbirds held a 2-1 lead after two periods on that evening on goals from Chase Balisy and Graham Black, but the Bears got the equalizer in the third period from Brad Malone and an overtime game-winner from rookie defenseman Colby Williams.
The Bears have earned points in each of their last four games, winning three of those, while the Thunderbirds have lost four straight despite getting a point in three of their past four contests. Springfield last tasted victory in a 4-0 shutout win over Binghamton on Nov. 12 at the Floyd L. Maines Memorial Arena.
The Thunderbirds' attack has improved in the last four games, scoring 12 goals in the previous week of action, but the once-sturdy defense has faltered some of late, allowing three or more goals in each of the last four contests. Springfield allowed three goals or more only four times up through Nov. 12.
Springfield will be slated to have reinforcements up front at the forward positions, as the Florida Panthers loaned Jared McCann and assigned forward Greg McKegg to the Thunderbirds in the week leading up to Friday night's contest with Hershey. McCann and McKegg have combined for 36 NHL games this season for the Panthers. Should he be in the lineup tonight, McCann would be skating in his first career American Hockey League game.
On the Hershey side, former Springfield Falcon Domenic Monardo makes his return to the MassMutual Center after spending parts of the last two seasons in Springfield. Boston native Chris Bourque, the son of Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, will also hit a milestone in Springfield on Friday. Should he play, it will be Bourque's 600th AHL game. Hershey's 30-year-old winger has scored 205 goals and added 390 assists for 595 points in his 599 AHL games to date.
Tonight's contest marks the Thunderbirds' No-Shave November cause, promoting men's prostate cancer awareness. The night, presented by Baystate Health and Health New England, will feature the MGM Springfield Pregame Concert Series and Dollar Night deals on hot dogs, soda and popcorn.
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).