SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Thunderbirds return to the MassMutual Center for the first time in nearly a month as they host the Hershey Bears Friday night.

This will mark the fourth and final matchup of the 2022-23 regular season against the Bears, who have clinched a bye already into the Atlantic Division Semifinals as a top-2 seed in the division, according to a news release sent to 22News from the Springfield Thunderbirds. Hershey currently sits just one point back of Providence in the Atlantic standings.

Hershey has won previously against the Thunderbirds in the first three matchups of the season series, winning in Springfield by a score of 2-1 on November 23 before taking a pair of games in Hershey by final scores of 5-3 an 6-2 on January 13 and 14.

The Bears currently have five former Thunderbirds on their active roster, such as forwards Sam Anas, Henrik Borgstrom, and Mike Sgarbossa, as well as defensemen Jake Massie and Dylan McIlrath. 

The Thunderbirds have won 21 of their last 30 games since January 17, and are looking to clinch a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs for a second straight season. Each situation involves Springfield getting points against the Bears while also getting a good result in a matchup between Hartford and Bridgeport, which also will be underway at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night.

The Thunderbirds will play the Hershey Bears Friday night at 7:05 p.m. for a sellout crowd at the MassMutual Center.