T-Birds, Wolf Pack Meet for 7th Time This SeasonDec 16, 2017
Springfield, MA- The Springfield Thunderbirds (11-18-1-0) continue their five-game homestand against a familiar foe as the Hartford Wolf Pack (11-12-3-2) come to the MassMutual Center for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
The Wolf Pack have been a streaky team of late, having won three consecutive games and earning points in six straight, going 4-0-1-1 in that stretch. Hartford evened up the I-91 rivalry season series at three wins apiece last Sunday by virtue of a 5-3 win over the Thunderbirds. Steven Fogarty scored a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal to preserve the win for the Wolf Pack on a night that saw Vinni Lettieri pick up two goals and an assist.
A rookie out of the University of Minnesota, Lettieri leads all players in the season series with eight points in the six matchups. Juho Lammikko has paced the Thunderbirds in the season series with six points in six games, including the first of two shorthanded markers this week for the big Finn on Sunday in Hartford. The 21-year-old set an AHL career high with three points in the Thunderbirds' 5-4 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers an evening ago.
Springfield picked up that 5-4 win in wild fashion, as the T-Birds and Sound Tigers traded the lead four times in the game's first two periods. Curtis Valk's eighth goal of the season proved to be the game-winner, his team-leading third on the campaign. Sam Montembeault calmed things down in the nets for Springfield, making 12 third period saves to bring the victory home. Springfield chased Bridgeport starter Christopher Gibson after the Sound Tiger netminder allowed five goals in just over a period and a half.
The Wolf Pack, themselves, chased a starting goaltender in their 7-3 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday at the XL Center in Hartford. Casey DeSmith could not fend off the explosive Wolf Pack attack, as goals by Ryan Graves, Scott Kosmachuk, and two from John Gilmour got DeSmith pulled just 3:37 into the second period. Hartford did not make life any easier for Sean Maguire, beating the Penguins' backup three times, with Gabriel Fontaine netting two.
In goal, veteran newcomer Marek Mazanec picked up his second win in as many starts for the Pack, denying 31 of 34 Penguin offerings on a night where Hartford was not shorthanded once. Hartford's top-ranked Eastern Conference power play also inflicted harm, going 2-for-3 to improve its season percentage to 21.7%.
The offenses have come to play in the season series between Springfield and Hartford, with the winner of each game this season scoring at least three goals. On five of six occasions, the winning team has potted four or more tallies.
The Thunderbirds will continue their five-game homestand right before the Christmas holiday when they host Bridgeport once again on Friday, Dec. 22 before welcoming the Providence Bruins on Saturday, Dec. 23, with each game starting at 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 visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.