T-Birds, Sound Tigers Reconvene Friday in SpringfieldJan 20, 2017
Springfield, MA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (15-15-5-2) and Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-15-1-1) will both try to continue their climbs toward a playoff position on Friday night, as the two clubs meet for the seventh time already this season at the MassMutual Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Thunderbirds' lineup will have a different look to it after a busy Thursday of roster movement. Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon announced the Panthers' assignment of forward Denis Malgin to Springfield, as well as the recall of goaltender Reto Berra from the Thunderbirds.
Additionally, the Thunderbirds announced on Thursday that they recalled goaltender Sam Brittain from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL to fill the space vacated by Berra's recall to Florida.
Malgin, 20, has recorded eight points (4-4-8) in 39 games with the Panthers during his first NHL season. The 5-foot-9, 177-pound native of Olten, Switzerland was originally selected by Florida in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. While playing in the Swiss league a season ago, Malgin tallied 17 points while playing alongside 2016 first overall NHL Draft pick Auston Matthews.
Brittain, 24, has put together a strong season in Manchester, tallying a 17-5-0 record, along with a .907 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against average. He played in 25 games with the AHL's Portland Pirates in 2015-16, recording an 8-10-3 record.
The Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds sit in fifth and sixth in the AHL's Atlantic Division, respectively. The Sound Tigers enter play this weekend with 40 points, placing them seven in back of the fourth-place Hershey Bears for the final playoff position from the division. The Thunderbirds sit with 37 points, 10 behind Hershey. The Sound Tigers and Thunderbirds each hold valuable games-in-hand on the Bears as well (BRI 3, SPR 2).
Springfield picked up its third win of the season over the Sound Tigers, 3-2, in thrilling shootout fashion on Jan. 4 at the MassMutual Center. Mike McKenna made five consecutive shootout saves, including three that would have won the game for Bridgeport, and Tim Bozon scored the shootout-deciding marker after inadvertently losing the handle on the puck against Jaroslav Halak.
The Thunderbirds hope that this weekend's three-game, three-night sequence can spark a turning point after Springfield dropped two games in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday and Monday against Providence and Lehigh Valley respectively.
Springfield has played four consecutive one-goal games, and incredibly, the Thunderbirds have had 31 of their 37 games decided by either one or two goals.
The Thunderbirds continue their sixth separate three-game weekend of the season on Saturday when they visit the Binghamton Senators at the Floyd L. Maines Memorial Auditorium at 7:05 p.m. ET, and then Springfield returns home for its first-ever meeting with the Toronto Marlies on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 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) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.