Jan 5, 2018
Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Springfield Thunderbirds (14-19-1-1) begin a two-game weekend with a contest in Wilkes-Barre against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (19-10-2-1) at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
It will be just the second meeting between the division opponents this season, with the Penguins defeating the Thunderbirds in the prior meeting by a final score of 6-3 on Dec. 13. Springfield has won four of the seven lifetime meetings against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Penguins enter the evening's matchup having won each of their last three contests, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be without their leading goal scorer, Daniel Sprong. The rookie earned a call-up to the NHL affiliates in Pittsburgh after racing out to AHL rookie leadership in goals with 18. Fellow rookie Zach Aston-Reese dished out three assists in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton win last month, a game in which the Penguins scored the final five goals to erase a 3-1 Springfield advantage in the second period.
The game was the first of seven consecutive starts in net for Sam Montembeault, who set a Thunderbirds franchise record this past Saturday with 44 stops in a 5-4 thriller over the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Josh Brown recorded his first goal of the season with just 4.9 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the late victory for Springfield.
The 21-year-old Montembeault is 4-2-0-1 in the past seven starts, with a goals against average of 2.95 and a save percentage of .907. The seven consecutive starts also marks a Thunderbirds franchise high.
While the Thunderbirds have won four of seven in their history against the Penguins, they have endured a drought winning at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Springfield won its first ever contest in Wilkes-Barre on Oct. 21, 2016 in a 1-0 shutout win, but have gone 0-3-0-0 ever since. The Thunderbirds sit at just 3-11-1-0 away from the MassMutual Center this season, with two of those three wins coming in Hartford.
Following the pit stop in northeast Pennsylvania, Springfield's lone return to the MassMutual Center until Jan. 15 will be tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 6 for Blast from the Past Night against the Providence Bruins, in which the T-Birds will wear Springfield Indians throwback jerseys. From there, the Thunderbirds will travel back to Pennsylvania for battles with the Hershey Bears (Jan. 10) and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Jan. 12).
Springfield Thunderbirds fans are encouraged to visit 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
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