Springfield Thunderbirds Announce 3 Preseason Game Dates
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds announced Monday that they have released their three preseason game dates and opponents.
This September, the Thunderbirds will skate in three preseason games to prepare for the 2019-20 AHL regular season. The first of the three games will pit the T-Birds against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, Conn., the home of the NWHL's Connecticut Whale.
The MassMutual Center will play host to one preseason game on Friday, Sept. 27 as the Providence Bruins pay a visit to the Thunderbirds' home arena for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. Individual tickets to this game will go on sale on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Thunderbirds fans with Full Season, 22 Game, or 10 Game memberships will receive preseason game tickets as part of their package.
Springfield and Providence will then close the preseason with a rematch on Saturday, Sept. 28 from the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 7:05 p.m.
The preseason will mark Thunderbirds' fans first chances to catch a glimpse of the 2019-20 squad. Head coach Geordie Kinnear returns for his fourth season behind the bench and captain Paul Thompson is back under contract with the Florida Panthers organization on a two-way deal. The 30-year-old winger finished second to Anthony Greco among Thunderbirds in goals (26) and points (53) in the 2018-19 season, and he led all Springfield skaters with 111 penalty minutes.
In total, 14 players who spent 30 or more games in Springfield last season have returned to the Panthers/Thunderbirds organization in 2019-20: forwards Thompson, Greco, Dryden Hunt, Jayce Hawryluk, Joel Lowry, Blaine Byron, Jonathan Ang, Sebastian Repo, and Jake Horton; defensemen Thomas Schemitsch, Riley Stillman, and Ian McCoshen; and goaltenders Sam Montembeault and Chris Driedger.
The Panthers and Thunderbirds also had a busy offseason with transactions, as the franchise acquired an influx of newcomers, particularly on the blue line, where Simsbury, Conn. native Tommy Cross and 2019 AHL All-Star Ethan Prow each agreed to two-year, two-way contracts with Florida.
The all-time games played leader in Providence Bruins franchise history (364 gp), Cross joins the Panthers organization after skating in 73 games for the Cleveland Monsters last season, where he put up 34 points (7g, 27a) and 71 penalty minutes in 73 games played. The 29-year-old former P-Bruins captain has reached the Calder Cup playoffs in each of his seven full professional seasons following a collegiate career at Boston College that saw him capture two NCAA championships (2010, 2012).
Prow, 26, had a breakout season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2018-19, leading the team with 50 points as a defenseman to go along with a sterling +26 rating. His nine power play goals were third-highest among AHL defensemen, and his 50 points placed him fourth among league blueliners.
Up front, the Panthers also made a notable pair of moves this offseason. First, they acquired center Dominic Toninato from the Colorado Avalanche and signed him to a one-year, two-way contract. Florida bolstered its depth further by signing veteran winger Kevin Roy to a one-year, two-way contract. Roy, a Northeastern University product, joins the Panther organization after spending parts of the last three seasons in the Anaheim Ducks system.
The 2019-20 Thunderbirds regular season schedule is out now, and Thunderbirds single game tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, Sept. 4. For more ticket information on how to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member and receive the best benefits, please call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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