T-Birds Await Two Atlantic Division Tests on Road
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds (2-3-0-0) continue a five-game road trip this weekend with visits to the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-0-0-1) on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. at the XL Center and in Allentown, Pa. on Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (1-1-1-0) at the PPL Center.
The Thunderbirds will be looking to build off a 5-2 victory on Sunday in Providence against the Bruins, an afternoon that saw the Springfield power play awaken, going 2-for-4. Chris Driedger's strong start to the 2019-20 season continued, as the netminder made 33 saves on 35 shots to improve his season save percentage to .936 and his goals-against average to 2.26.
Philippe Desrosiers tended the goal crease in Springfield's 3-1 loss to Hartford last Saturday, but the first-year Thunderbird performed admirably, making 24 saves on 26 shots. Springfield's team defense ranks fifth-best in the AHL through its first five games, allowing just 2.40 goals per game. Only Toronto and Rochester have better ranks in the Eastern Conference.
The T-Birds will look for their first win in the season series against the Wolf Pack, who have jumped to the early lead in the Atlantic Division with seven points. First-year goaltender Igor Shesterkin needed to only make 17 saves in the Hartford win on Oct. 12. The Wolf Pack received goals from Nick Jones, Phil di Giuseppe, and Filip Chytil in the triumph. Hartford now holds a 10-7-0-0 record inside the XL Center against the Thunderbirds all-time.
When the Thunderbirds finish up action Friday, they continue down south for their first meeting with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A season ago, the Thunderbirds rudely greeted the Phantoms with a 7-0 win on Oct. 12 behind five power play goals and a shutout performance from Sam Montembeault in net. Lehigh Valley responded with victories in four of the next five meetings with Springfield.
This year's Phantoms are off to a slower start, with just three points in three games and an 0-for-11 start to their season on the man advantage. Additionally, Lehigh Valley has allowed four power play goals on 13 opponents' power play chances. Rookie Joel Farabee has gotten off to a quick start for the Phantoms with goals in two of his first three professional games.
On the Springfield side, newcomer Ethan Prow holds the Thunderbirds' early-season scoring lead with a goal and four assists in his first five games. Jonathan Ang, Joel Lowry, Kevin Roy, and Ian McCoshen all have tallied four points thus far.
After this weekend's road swing, the Thunderbirds embark on another three-game weekend on Oct. 25-27 with a visit to Bridgeport on Friday (7:00 p.m.) before home tilts with Belleville on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) and Rochester on Sunday (5:05 p.m.).
For more ticket information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.
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