SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds announced they will open the 2017-18 slate of home games by taking on their I-91 rival, the Hartford Wolf Pack, on Saturday, October 14 at the Mass Mutual Center. The full 2017-18 American Hockey League schedule will be announced this afternoon at 3 pm ET.
The Thunderbirds won 12 out of the last 14 home games during the 2016-17 campaign and took down the season series against the Wolf Pack with a 6-2-2-1 record.
The Thunderbirds took the win the 2016-17 home opener that was a memorable one against the St. John Ice Caps with a come from behind victory to win 5-4 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd of 6,789. Thunderbirds defenseman MacKenzie Weegar scored the game-winning goal in overtime and had an assist. Paul Thompson scored a goal and received an assist. Dryden Hunt scored two goals and had an assist that evening. Former Thunderbirds goaltender Mike McKenna made 21 saves in the team victory. The Thunderbirds had two more sellouts during the 2016-17 year.
“We’re excited to be able to host our I-91 rivals from Hartford to open the 2017-18 season,” said Thunderbirds Executive Vice President Nathan Costa in a news release. “Coming off of last year’s Opening Night sellout, we are excited to replicate a similar atmosphere and take it to the next level for our second season.”
The Thunderbirds and their parent club, the Florida Panthers, have been active in free agency so far, having signed draft pick Sebastian Repo, Alexandre Grenier, Chase Bailsy, Connor Brickley, Reece Scarlett, Harri Sateri, and former Utica Comets Curtis Valk.