Jan 12, 2018
Allentown, PA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-21-1-1) continue their Pennsylvania trek on Friday night with a visit to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-11-2-3) at the PPL Center on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Thunderbirds are 0-3-1-0 in their history at the PPL Center against the Phantoms, with the last defeat coming in a 3-2 overtime matchup on Oct. 25. The Phantoms, who boast the fourth-highest scoring offense (3.51 GPG) in the AHL, have scored 14 times in three games against the Thunderbirds this season, winning all three matchups.
Rookie goalie Sam Montembeault was magnificent in his first appearance in Allentown this past October, stopping 36 of 39 shots before a Greg Carey overtime power play goal downed Springfield. The Thunderbirds erased a 2-0 deficit on that night thanks to goals from Dryden Hunt and Thomas Schemitsch.
Springfield is also seeking back-to-back road victories for just the second time all season. The Thunderbirds have won just four times away from the MassMutual Center, including a 2-1 overtime victory on Wednesday night in Hershey. Bobby Farnham scored the overtime winner for Springfield at the Giant Center following yet another marvelous performance by Montembeault, who stopped 35 Hershey offerings for his ninth win of the season.
Montembeault has started each of the last 10 games for the Thunderbirds, as he continues to extend his franchise record in that department. Alex Grenier also scored for just the second time in his last 11 games, and in doing so became the first player to score a shorthanded tally against the Bears all season. It was Springfield's sixth shorthanded marker, which already equals their entire total from the 2016-17 season.
The Phantoms, meanwhile, sit in third in the Atlantic Division despite a splendid .635 points percentage. They have picked up points in 13 of their 17 games at the PPL Center this season (10-4-2-1). However, Lehigh Valley has struggled of late, going 0-2-0-1 in their last three outings. Despite allowing just five goals in regulation time in the past two games, the Phantoms offense has quieted, falling 3-2 in a shootout in Toronto last Friday before succumbing by a 3-1 score on Saturday to the Rochester Americans.
First-year Phantom Phil Varone sits third in the AHL scoring race with 38 points on the season, while Danick Martel and Greg Carey sit tied for fifth in the AHL with 17 goals on the season. After scoring 14 goals in his first 14 games, Martel has struggled to find the back of the net recently, with just three goals in his last 20 games played.
Springfield will have Saturday off after the Friday night affair in Allentown before hitting the road again to face the Providence Bruins on Sunday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 3:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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