SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the game that everyone in western Massachusetts is talking about!

Sunday night was game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals and the T-birds came out of the gate swinging and so did fans.

And although the Thunderbirds are away in Chicago fans showed up and showed out at the watch parties. A whole lot of chants cheers and of course community in MGM’s Taps Sports Bar.

Fans are predicting that the game tonight will be a close one. But, fans that are confident that the Birds will declaw the Wolves in an epic game.

“The fans are behind the team and with the kind of the fan base we have in Springfield we’re expecting a win tonight,” said Al Arment of West Springfield.

“It’s been 31 years since any team from Springfield has been in the finals and since they won the cup so it’ll be really cool to see them bring it back to Springfield,” added Kippy Rossi of Springfield.

22News spoke with Rossi a big Thunderbirds fan and a season ticket holder. When asked what he hoped to see at Sunday night’s game he said, “I just want Springfield to be physical like they were against Laval. If they can just come out and play their game and play fast hard hockey I think they’ll win.”

This series marks the first time the Thunderbirds have ever faced a Western Conference opponent in their time in the American Hockey League.

“It’s going to be a low scoring game but I really think Springfield is going to come out on top,” Arment continued. “Like I said, Chicago doesn’t know anything about Springfield. We’ve got a lot of tricks up our sleeve.”

Chicago held the lead for most of the game Sunday, but Springfield was able to tie it up in the 3rd period to force overtime. Matthew Kessel would eventually score to allow the Thunderbirds to fly past the Wolves by a score of 5-4.

A series victory would give Springfield its 8th Calder Cup championship in the city’s AHL history, which dates back to 1936.

Game 2 is in Chicago, the puck drops Monday, June 20 at 8 p.m.