Apr 5, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -  The Springfield Thunderbirds (30-27-8-5) pay a visit to head coach Geordie Kinnear’s old home as the T-Birds fly into North Carolina for two weekend matchups with the Charlotte Checkers (48-16-7-1). The two clubs will square off on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. before rounding out the weekend with a 1:00 p.m. puck drop on Sunday afternoon.


The Checkers, who have already clinched their first Atlantic Division title, sit atop the American Hockey League standings with 104 points on the campaign. They boast the second stingiest defense in the league, allowing just 2.50 goals per game, and they also hold the league’s seventh-most potent offense at 3.35 goals per game.


Charlotte has defeated Springfield in each of the first contests in the season series, including a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win on Dec. 8 inside the MassMutual Center. The Checkers then took care of business with a 4-1 win on Feb. 15 in Springfield. Kinnear is still seeking his first head coaching victory in Charlotte against his former club. Kinnear spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Checkers from 2010-16.


The Thunderbirds are coming off back-to-back victories, and five out of a possible six points in their last three games played. Anthony Greco scored his 27th goal of the season as part of a three-point night in Springfield’s 5-2 dispatching of the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday night to complete a season series victory over their I-91 rivals. Joel Lowry got the T-Birds started on a high note with two goals in the first 3:24 of the opening period on Wednesday.


Chris Driedger again anchored the goal crease for the T-Birds, winning his team-record 15th game in a single season, stopping 34 of 36 in the process. While Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic sits atop the AHL with a 2.21 goals against average, Driedger sits second with a .922 save percentage. Nedeljkovic is also the only AHL goalie to eclipse 30 wins this season, as his total sits at 33.


After the two-game stop in Charlotte, the Thunderbirds have just three games left on their 2018-19 regular season slate, and each will be played over a three-day weekend beginning Friday, April 12 on home ice against Bridgeport. Springfield then welcomes the Providence Bruins on Saturday, April 13 for Pedro Martinez Night, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. each night. On Saturday, the T-Birds will host a season-ending Block Party presented by Community Bank at Court Square beginning at 4:00 p.m., featuring a live music performance by The Kings.


Springfield Thunderbirds 2019-2020 ticket memberships are on sale now and include the best benefits of being a Thunderbirds ticket holder. To learn more about memberships and single game tickets, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).

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