T-Birds, Wolf Pack Meet Again to Close 2017Dec 30, 2017
Hartford, CT - The Springfield Thunderbirds (13-19-1-1) begin a stretch of five road games in the next six contests overall as they pay a visit to the Hartford Wolf Pack (13-14-3-3) on Saturday night at the XL Center, with puck drop slated for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Both the Thunderbirds and Wolf Pack are coming off of losses on Friday night. Springfield fell 4-2 to the Hershey Bears on home ice, while Hartford fell victim to a hat trick performance by Daniel Sprong in a 5-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on the road.
Springfield lost just its second game of the year when scoring the game's first goal, as the Bears came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win its fifth consecutive contest over the T-Birds at the MassMutual Center. The Thunderbirds have yet to defeat Hershey on home ice.
The Wolf Pack and Thunderbirds have seen each of their seven meetings this season be decided by two goals or less, and the last installment of the I-91 rivalry saw sensational goaltending between Sam Montembeault and Marek Mazanec on Dec. 16 at the MassMutual Center. Both goaltenders were beaten just once in regulation time and through the five-minute overtime. Mazanec turned away 42 pucks for Hartford, while Montembeault tallied 32 saves before stopping all three shootout attempts in a 2-1 win for the Thunderbirds.
Springfield improved to 4-3-0-0 against the Wolf Pack this season and 10-5-1-1 overall since the Thunderbirds' entrance into the AHL in 2016-17.
The Wolf Pack special teams have been a difference maker in the club's matchups with Springfield this season. Hartford's power play, which sits fifth in the AHL at 20%, has been torrid against the T-Birds, going 10-for-42 in the first seven matchups. Shorthanded, the Wolf Pack have been equally effective, going 26-for-31 on the penalty kill. In the last meeting between the clubs in Hartford on Dec. 10, Steven Fogarty scored the eventual game-winning goal with his club two men down en route to a 5-3 Hartford win.
The Thunderbirds' trip to Hartford marks the first of five road games between now and Jan. 14. Springfield's lone return home will be on Saturday, Jan. 6 for Blast from the Past Night against the Providence Bruins, in which the T-Birds will wear Springfield Indians throwback jerseys. Springfield will next take to the ice on Friday, Jan. 5 in Wilkes-Barre for a tangle with the Penguins.
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com to learn more about Thunderbirds Ticket Memberships. Packages include a wide range of benefits, including a refillable collector’s mug. For more information or to order now, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.