Feb 8, 2019

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (21-18-6-4) make their lone trips of the season to Rochester and Toronto for a pair of games on the weekend slate. On Friday night at 7, the T-Birds visit the Rochester Americans (28-13-3-2) at Blue Cross Arena. Then on Saturday, Springfield goes north of the border in a tangle with the defending Calder Cup champion Toronto Marlies (24-16-4-3) at 4:00 p.m.


The Americans boast the second best record in the Eastern Conference, and the Buffalo Sabres' affiliates presently hold a two-point lead over Syracuse for top billing in the North Division. However, the Thunderbirds got the better of Rochester and then some in the prior meeting this season between the clubs. Springfield erupted for a franchise record nine goals, including seven in the second period, on Nov. 16 in a 9-4 victory at the MassMutual Center. Dryden Hunt led the way by picking up his second career AHL hat trick, while Paul Thompson and Jacob MacDonald added two goals each in the win.


Springfield is still seeking its first ever win in each of the venues they will be visiting this weekend. The Thunderbirds are 0-2-1-0 in their prior three trips to the BlueCross Arena, and they are 0-2-0-0 in their two prior trips to Toronto.


The Americans boast an injury-ravaged lineup, but in spite of that, Rochester has points in each of their last nine contests, going 6-0-1-2 in that time. Seven different Rochester skaters have tallied 24 or more points to this point in the regular season, and captain Kevin Porter led the Americans with a goal and two assists in their first matchup against the T-Birds.


When the weekend shifts to Canda, the Thunderbirds will try to find their offensive game in a building where Springfield has managed just one lifetime goal in two games against the Marlies. However, Toronto has had issues keeping pucks out of the back of their net, allowing 3.49 goals per game. The Marlies enter play this weekend winners of three of their last four games, and Toronto has climbed back into playoff positioning, holding the third place spot in the North Division. The Marlies boast a top-five offensive attack in the AHL, averaging 3.55 goals per game.


Upon the conclusion of this road swing, the Thunderbirds return home to begin a three-game weekend on Friday, Feb. 15 against the Charlotte Checkers at 7:05 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. Springfield will then host the Marlies on Saturday, Feb. 16 for Hockey Night in Springfield presented by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.


´╗┐For tickets and more information about Springfield Thunderbirds tickets or ticket packages, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).


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