Oct 18, 2018
LAVAL, QC - The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-0-0-2) take to the road on Friday and Saturday for a pair of matchups with the Laval Rocket (3-2-0-0) at Place Bell. Friday's puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m. while Saturday will have a 3:00 p.m. start time.
The Thunderbirds swept the two-game season series with Laval in the Rocket's inaugural season of 2017-18, outscoring the Rocket by an 11-5 margin. Springfield tallied six times in the club's 6-4 win on David Ortiz Night last Nov. 11 in Springfield before drubbing the Rocket 5-1 on April 6 at Place Bell.
Then-Thunderbird Alex Grenier led the way for Springfield in the latest installment of this series, scoring twice on April 6. Grenier has since joined the Rocket after signing a contract with Laval this summer. He has two goals and a helper in his first five games with his new club.
After a subpar first season that resulted in them missing the playoffs, the Rocket boast an improved lineup from the year before, including the additions of Grenier and 2016-17 AHL MVP Kenny Agostino, who scored 53 points as a member of the Providence Bruins in 2017-18.
The Thunderbirds enter the weekend having scored 4.75 goals per game in their first four contests and earning six out of a possible eight points in the standings. Springfield already has six skaters averaging more than a point per game on an individual level, including defenseman Jacob MacDonald, who scored twice in his Springfield debut last Sunday against the Providence Bruins. MacDonald led all AHL defensemen with 20 goals and 55 points last season as a member of the Binghamton Devils.
Up front, the Thunderbirds continue to be anchored by captain Paul Thompson (3g, 3a) and alternate captain Harry Zolnierczyk (2g, 7a). Each of them has tallied points in every Springfield game thus far, while Zolnierczyk has tallied multiple points in each contest.
In addition, Henrik Borgstrom has lived up to his offensive hype in his rookie season, scoring two goals and adding four assists in his first three games. He also recorded the T-Birds' first four-point game of the year with a goal and three assists in the club's 7-0 win in Allentown on Oct. 12 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Not to be outdone, Sam Montembeault enters his home province playing some of the best hockey of his pro career. In his first two starts of the campaign, the 21-year-old Montembeault has a 35-save shutout at Lehigh Valley and a 30-save performance this past Sunday in Providence. He has stopped 65 of 68 shots he has seen, good for a .956 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average.
Following the club's first Canadian road trip of the season, the Thunderbirds will have a seven-day break between games before hosting the Providence Bruins on Oct. 27 for OkT-BIRDfest presented by Spectra Food Services & New Belgium Voodoo Ranger. Fans 21-and-over can purchase Ok-TBIRDfest packages featuring an admission to the pregame beer tasting on Bruce Landon Way, which will run from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about 2018-19 Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including the lowest prices for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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