Springfield Thunderbirds preparing for second straight Calder Cup playoffs
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Springfield Thunderbirds got their final practice in on Tuesday ahead of their second straight Calder Cup playoff appearance Wednesday.
Players like Matthew Highmore told Western Mass News that the team is approaching their first round series against the Hartford Wolf Pack like any other game.
“We certainly know it’s not (like any other game), so our effort needs to be there through 60 minutes,” said Highmore. “We know them (Hartford) really well, we know what they’re all about, and it’s going to be a tight three-game series.”
The Thunderbirds enter the postseason after finishing fourth in the American Hockey League, as well as 9 and 3 against the Wolf Pack.
With the team having home ice in game one, and, if necessary, game three, Highmore’s teammate Martin Frk said that it is important to have the fans behind them.
“Our fans are great,” he told us. “I’m really excited for tomorrow’s game and how many people will come and how they are going to support us. We want to make sure we play good for them, and we’ll try to get them a good run.”
Springfield had a great run last year, making it to their first Calder Cup final, but they came up just short. This time, they have higher expectations.
On the business side, Team President Nate Costa said that efforts to get the building filled during these playoffs is a little different this year.
“We were blessed with having a big last year, so it gave us two solid weeks to really promote and market the playoffs and get our stuff out,” he said. “This year, it’s a little bit more challenging. We’ve got three days to prepare.”
However, big crowds are expected, and Costa said that collectible commemorative posters will be handed out at each playoff game.
Frk told us that they are ready to start.
“We just got to help each other,” he said. “In the end, it’s a team sport, and we just got to go win the game as a team.”
The Thunderbirds expect a loud sellout crowd on Wednesday, with the puck set to drop at 7:05 p.m. in game 1 of this best-of-3 series.
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