T-Birds Visit Devils for Grudge Match Friday

Jan 13, 2017

Albany, NYThe Springfield Thunderbirds (14-13-5-2) will get a quick chance to respond from a Wednesday overtime loss as they visit the Albany Devils (21-15-0-1) on Friday at the Times Union Center for a 7:00 p.m. ET puck drop. 

It was a back-and-forth shootout on Wednesday night, with the two teams combining to launch 72 shots on the goal. Rookie Ken Appleby came away victorious by making 33 stops for the Devils, while Mike McKenna lost his first game in three starts despite a 34-save effort, which included 17 stops in a third period that saw Albany unleash 18 shots on the Springfield net.

The Thunderbirds got their goal contributions from defensemen on Wednesday. First, it was Brent Regner, who opened the scoring past the six-minute mark of the first. He stepped around Blake Pietila into the right wing circle before beating Appleby with a high-rising shot to put Springfield on top, 1-0.

Albany would respond with the game's next two goals, from Carter Camper and Ryan Kujawinski respectively. Kujawinski's first of the season put Albany on top, 2-1 at the 6:34 mark of the third. The Thunderbirds nearly waited too long to hit the comeback trail, but with McKenna on the bench with less than two minutes to play, MacKenzie Weegar cleaned up a rebound to the left of Appleby to force overtime. Weegar's goal, his team-leading 9th, was also the All-Star's fifth goal since returning from injury on Dec. 27. 

The Devils escaped with the win in overtime after surviving a 3-on-1 attack from the Thunderbirds moments before Ben Sexton finished the game with an overtime winner at 3:20. With the, the Thunderbirds fell to just 4-7 in games decided past regulation. They have won only two of their last nine games that needed overtime or a shootout.

Springfield enters play on Friday night 10 points behind the Hershey Bears for the final playoff position in the Atlantic Division, with the season's midway point just one week away. 

The two teams will reconvene on Friday evening for a 7:05 p.m. ET puck drop from the Times Union Center in Albany. Springfield is next at home on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. ET showdown with the Providence Bruins, a team the Thunderbirds split a home-and-home series against on Jan. 6-7. 

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.

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