T-Birds Take on Comets in Utica for First TimeNov 18, 2016
Utica, NY– The Springfield Thunderbirds (7-5-1-1) look to shrug off a 3-2 shootout loss on Wednesday in Hartford as they visit the Utica Comets (3-9-1-0) at the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the first time this season.
Like Hartford on Wednesday, Utica sits at the bottom of its division by virtue of their 10 losses in the season's opening 13 games. The Comets have been outscored by their opponents by a margin of 48-31 this season. Their 31 goals scored are the second lowest total in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only Binghamton.
The Thunderbirds seemed to be on their way to victory against the Wolf Pack in the team's first Wednesday night game of the season. With a first period 5-on-3 advantage, the Thunderbirds wasted little time vaulting to the lead, with the veteran core at the center of the action. Picking up the puck in the right circle, Paul Thompson fired a short-side offering at rookie Hartford goaltender Brandon Halverson. The goalie made the initial stop, but the puck fell in behind the goaltender's body, where captain Brent Regner tapped home the loose puck for his second goal in as many games.
Just 31 seconds, at the 18:00 mark, Matt Leitner located a loose puck in the slot and spun a backhander toward the goal. Halverson made the first save, but the rebound sat right in front for Sena Acolatse. With nobody marking him from point blank range, Acolatse waited patiently before lifting a wrist shot over Halverson to give Springfield the 2-0 lead by virtue of their first ever game with multiple power play goals.
On that night, though, the Wolf Pack would be the team to silence their demons, ending an eight-game losing streak thanks to two goals from Nicklas Jensen in regulation time, followed by an overtime marker from Steven Fogarty to seal the victory for Hartford. The Wolf Pack ended their streak despite not earning a single power play against a disciplined Springfield group all evening on Wednesday.
The Thunderbirds will take the ice in Utica short one of their veteran leaders, as Jakub Kindl was recalled by the Florida Panthers for the second time in less than two weeks on Friday. In a subsequent roster move, Thomas Schemitsch has been recalled by Springfield from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL.
After the first-ever meeting with the Comets, the Thunderbirds will return home for their first matchup of the season with the Providence Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET. The night marks a doubleheader featuring a special game involving the Boston Bruins Alumni Team.
Fans can get into both the Bruins Alumni game and the Thunderbirds game with a purchase of a Thunderbirds game ticket. Packages are available by visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
Coverage of all Thunderbirds games can be heard on NewsRadio 560 WHYN and via the iHeartRadio app.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds Season 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).