T-Birds Take on Bears Seeking 5th Straight WinJan 16, 2018
Springfield, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (18-21-1-1) and their red hot offensive attack take the ice looking to a tie a franchise record with a fifth straight victory on Wednesday night when they play host to the Hershey Bears (17-17-3-3) at the MassMutual Center for a 7:05 p.m. ET start.
The visiting team has won each of the four prior matchups this season, with the Thunderbirds escaping the Giant Center with a 2-1 overtime win a week ago to begin their four-game winning streak. Sam Montembeault stopped 35 shots in the win for Springfield, while Bobby Farnham provided the overtime heroics at the other end.
The Bears will have a new look this time around, as both forward Jakub Vrana and defenseman Madison Bowey have been loaned to Hershey from the NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals. The pair combined for 50 points in Hershey in the 2016-17 season. This year, the Bears field just two players with more than 25 points in Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd, and Hershey's offense ranks 27th out of 30 AHL teams.
Springfield, meanwhile, has seen its offense go on a tear in the week since the overtime win in the Bears' den. In the three victories that succeeded the contest in Hershey, the Thunderbirds have outscored their opponents 16-5, scoring five or more goals in each game.
Incredibly, the Thunderbirds have seven different players on point streaks of two games or more, withRob Hamilton leading the way with a five-game assist streak. Teammate Tim Erixon holds the franchise record with a six-game assist streak earlier this season.
After combining for just one point in the prior two games, Curtis Valk (1g, 2a) and Alex Grenier (1a) played a hand in Springfield's fourth straight win, a 5-1 decision over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Monday afternoon. The lethal-of-late Thunderbirds attack outshot Hartford 25-2 in the second period, setting season-bests on both ends of the lopsided period for most shots for and fewest shots against.
Monday also provided the first Springfield Thunderbirds goal in the career of young defenseman Ludwig Bystrom, who has contributed 14 assists to go along with his goal. Montembeault (3-0, 1.32 GAA, .932 SV%) and Evan Cowley (34 saves on 36 shots in Providence Sunday) have each played steady hockey in the Springfield goal crease.
With their two power play connections on home ice Monday afternoon, the Thunderbirds have now scored 20 of their 30 man advantage goals at the MassMutual Center, while the penalty kill went a perfect 5-for-5 against the Wolf Pack's top-ten ranked power play unit. The Springfield penalty kill is now 16-for-17 over the course of the four-game win streak.
The Thunderbirds' homestand continues following Wednesday's tilt with the second matchup of the season against the Binghamton Devils. Puck drop on Friday night is set for 7:05 p.m. ET at the MassMutual Center.
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.