T-Birds Take Show on Road to ProvidenceFeb 3, 2017
Providence, RI - The Springfield Thunderbirds (16-19-6-2) will look to continue their stronger play away from home as they visit the Providence Bruins (25-12-5-3) at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop.
The Thunderbirds endured a rough month of January on home ice at the MassMutual Center, having lost their last eight contests in Springfield. On the contrary, the road was much kinder to the Thunderbirds, who have earned points in each of their last five road contests, including victories in three of the last four away games.
Springfield fell twice on home ice to the Bruins in 2017's initial month, but the Thunderbirds also dispatched the Bruins by a 4-1 score in their last visit to Providence on Jan. 6. That night, Reto Berrastopped 25 of 26 pucks and got goal contributions from Juho Lammikko, Chase Balisy, Brody Sutterand MacKenzie Weegar.
After a red-hot, 12-win month of December, the Bruins have returned to Earth since the start of the New Year. Providence is 5-4-1-0 in its last ten games, and the Bruins will once again be without the services of All-Star goaltender Zane McIntyre, who was recalled by the Boston Bruins earlier this week.
Tonight marks the first of three meetings between the two clubs in Providence this month. Springfield will revisit the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Feb. 12 and Feb. 26 for a pair of Sunday matinees to the east.
The Thunderbirds will have a new look to their lineup on Friday night, with the Thursday assignments of Dryden Hunt, Tim Bozon, and Thomas Schemitsch to the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL. In addition, back with the Thunderbirds are forward Jared McCann defenseman Dylan McIlrath, who each were assigned to Springfield by the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. Defenseman Eddie Wittchow rounds out the additions, as the Thunderbirds recalled the rookie defender from Manchester Thursday.
Springfield's offense, despite the home-ice struggles, has found a dangerous weapon in the form of rookie forward Jayce Hawryluk. The 21-year-old has three goals and four points in his last three games, and he is just the second Thunderbird ever to record a three-game goal scoring streak, joining Bozon.
In net, Berra is looking for his first victory since Jan. 13 in Albany, while Mike McKenna is still sitting on 198 career AHL wins. With two more triumphs, McKenna would become just the 15th goaltender in AHL history to record 200 goaltending wins in a career.
With 33 games left in the regular season, the Thunderbirds sit 12 points back of the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, currently held by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Springfield will see the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena on Saturday and Tuesday night for a pair of important contests in the playoff race.
The Thunderbirds are back on MassMutual Center ice on Friday, Feb. 10 as Ric Flair makes a visit to Springfield for "Throwback Night" with a piece of Flair. Flair's special appearance, presented by Big Y and Lia Auto Group. Additionally, the evening also marks Big Y Family Night, where Big Y Silver Savings Club Card holders can save $5 on tickets (NOTE: this offer cannot be combined with Ric Flair packages).
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.