T-Birds Seek 2nd Win over Wolf Pack This WeekendNov 5, 2017
Hartford, CT– The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-9-1-0) will look to close out a winning weekend as they travel south down I-91 to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack (4-7-0-1) for the third time in the early season. Puck drop from the XL Center is set for 5:00 p.m. ET.
The Wolf Pack have stumbled since opening their season at a 3-1-0-0 clip, dropping seven of their last eight hockey games, including a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Providence Bruins at the XL Center on Saturday. Hartford has given up four or more goals in six consecutive contests, including five to the Thunderbirds in Springfield's 5-3 victory on Friday at the MassMutual Center.
In that contest, Curtis Valk tallied twice for the Thunderbirds, who also saw goal contributions from Anthony Greco, Jayce Hawryluk and Mike Downing. Greco has scored goals in three consecutive games after tallying another one in a 3-2 loss at Bridgeport on Saturday.
Springfield nearly erased a 3-0 deficit in the third period an evening ago against the Sound Tigers, receiving goals from Greco and Alex Grenier in less than 90 seconds to bring the Bridgeport lead down to 3-2 with 8:48 to play in the third. However, on this night, the Thunderbirds would not be able to find the equalizer as Christopher Gibson stopped 24 shots to deny Springfield its first winning streak of the season.
The Thunderbirds enter the XL Center with plenty of confidence, having picked up points in four of five lifetime matchups in Hartford. Springfield has a 7-3-1-1 all-time record against their closest geographic rivals, including a 6-2-1-1 mark in the 2016-17 season against the Wolf Pack.
Special teams could be the story of tonight's ultimate outcome, as the Wolf Pack enter play with one of the AHL's top power play units (25%), a group that went 3-for-7 on Friday in Springfield. The Thunderbirds power play struggled on Saturday in Bridgeport, going 0-for-7. Springfield is 2-for-11 on the man advantage against Hartford in two games this year.
Sam Montembeault was the major defensive factor that created Springfield's victory on Friday night. The rookie netminder stopped a career-best 38 shots in the 5-3 triumph, his first professional victory. Alex Georgiev drew the net assignment on Friday for Hartford, turning away 26 of 30 shots in the loss. Chris Nell was the losing netminder for Hartford in Providence an evening ago, stopping just 16 of 20 shots in the loss.
Following the Thunderbirds' quick trip south, they will return home to begin the first of two separate five-game homestands in the 2017-18 season. They will host the Hershey Bears for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:05 before playing host to the Laval Rocket for David Ortiz Night on Saturday, Nov. 11, also at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and Thunderbirds Full Season Ticket Members receive the most benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug and a commemorative jersey. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.