T-Birds Visit Phantoms In Mid-Week TiltOct 25, 2017
(Photo Courtesy Lehigh Valley Phantoms)
Allentown, PA - The Springfield Thunderbirds (1-6-0-0) hit the road for their first mid-week game of the season as they pay a visit to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (5-1-0-1) on Wednesday night at the PPL Center. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield played its first-ever game as the Thunderbirds at the PPL Center last October 15 in a 4-2 loss to the Phantoms. Anthony Greco scored the first-ever goal in team history, while Dryden Hunt also tallied his first career goal on a power play in the loss.
Flash forward one season, and Hunt is coming off perhaps his best game as a professional, having completed a hat trick in Springfield's 7-4 streak-busting win over Belleville on Sunday. Two of the 21-year-old's three tallies came on the power play, which went 3-for-7 in Springfield's last contest. The three power play goals set a franchise record for most in one game, and the penalty killers did them one better, killing off a team-record 10 penalties in one game without relinquishing a power play goal to the Senators.
In net, Evan Cowley picked up the first Thunderbirds win of 2017-18 and first AHL victory of his young career, stopping 27 of 31 shots. In a night of firsts, rookie Blaine Byron and newcomer Alex Grenier each picked up their first points as Thunderbirds, and Curtis Valk extended his team-best point streak to six consecutive games.
Lehigh Valley has maintained a strong start to its season despite losing three of their key defensemen from a season ago. T.J. Brennan will be out of the Phantoms lineup due to injury, while Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg each earned call-ups to Lehigh Valley's NHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Even more surprisingly for the 5-1-0-1 Phantoms, the team's power play - a unit that last season clicked at a top-five rate of 20.7% - has had a woeful start, going 1-for-33 in its first seven games, the lowest rank in the East.
The Thunderbirds have yet to come away with a victory inside the PPL Center, despite scoring eight goals in the three games played in Allentown last season. Springfield also twice carried multiple goal leads into the third period against the Phantoms last season, only to see the potent Lehigh Valley offense come back to steal victories. Lehigh Valley is 5-1-0-0 in six lifetime matchups with the Thunderbirds.
Tonight marks the first of a home-and-home series between the two Atlantic Division foes. The teams reunite on Friday in Springfield on a 3-2-1 Halloween-themed Friday at the Thunderdome. Puck drop that evening is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Season Ticket Memberships. Packages start at just $12 per game, and Thunderbirds Full Season Ticket Members receive the most benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug and a commemorative jersey. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visitwww.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.