Evansville, In.: With the final stretch of three games in three nights in the rear-view mirror and a playoff spot confirmed, the Thunderbolts begin winding down their regular season schedule as they take on the Bulls in Birmingham this Thursday before hosting the Knoxville Ice Bears this Saturday night at Ford Center for Superhero Night.

Week In Review: 

The Thunderbolts began their weekend with a 4-2 win in Pensacola, with a pair of goals from Conner Jean, a late game-winning goal from Derek Osik, and an Ice Flyers own-goal into the empty net that would be credited to Scott Kirton.  The defense and goaltending continued to get the job done, however the offense dried up, as the Thunderbolts fell 3-1 on Saturday night and 4-1 on Sunday afternoon, with Matt Dorsey and Jeremy Masella scoring the lone goals on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  The Thunderbolts are currently in 5th place in the league standings, .022% behind 4th-Place Roanoke and .013% ahead of 6th-Place Knoxville.  Teams who finish in 4th Place or higher will secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, guaranteeing two home games for those teams if their first-round series goes to a full three games.

The Week Ahead: 

The Thunderbolts are in Birmingham this Thursday to take on the Bulls, beginning at 7:00pm CT.  Following the Thursday game in Birmingham, the Thunderbolts return home to host the Knoxville Ice Bears this Saturday, April 1st at 7:00pm for Superhero Night.  Superhero Night will feature the final specialty game-worn jerseys of the season, which will be auctioned off after the game, and another Party in the Plaza, beginning at 4pm along with a beer garden.  For tickets to Saturday’s game at Ford Center, call (812) 422-BOLT (2658), go to EvansvilleThunderbolts.com, or visit the Ford Center ticket office.  Thursday’s game can be viewed on SPHL TV with a paid subscription through HockeyTV or can be listened to for free on the Thunderbolts Radio Network via the Thunderbolts MixLr Channel or at EvansvilleThunderbolts.com/fan-center/live .

Coming Soon: 

The Thunderbolts’ final regular season home game following this weekend will be on Friday, April 7th against the Birmingham Bulls for Fan Appreciation Night.  Fan Appreciation Night is all about the celebration of our great fans, with plenty of chances to win prizes.  Live pre-game music will be provided by Drew Cagle and The Reputation.  Playoff information, including dates and opponents, will be coming towards the end of the regular season, as the Thunderbolts continue to work hard on the ice to finish as high in the standings as possible and to secure home-ice advantage in the first round.

  Scouting the Opponent: 

  • Birmingham Bulls: 
    • Record: 34-15-3, 71 Points, .683 Win Percentage, 2nd Place
    • Leading Goal Scorer: Michael Gillespie (25 Goals)
    • Leading Point Scorer: Michael Gillespie (57 Points)
    • Primary Goaltender: Austin Lotz (20-7-2, .907 Save %)
    • Thunderbolts 22-23 Record vs BHM: 2-4-1

      The Bulls defeated their Alabama rivals the Huntsville Havoc in both meetings this past weekend, 3-1 on Friday in Pelham and 4-3 in Huntsville on Saturday.  Scott Donahue, Bair Gendunov and Jared Bethune picked up the goals on Friday at home.  Goals from Jake Pappalardo and Matt Wiesner opened up a 2-0 lead on Saturday before the Havoc came back to tie the game.  Tied 2-2, Michael Gillespie and Troy MacTavish scored to give Birmingham another multi-goal lead, and the Havoc were only partially able to bridge the gap as Birmingham won 4-3.

  • Knoxville Ice Bears: 
    • Record: 30-21-3, 63 Points, .583 Win Percentage, 6th Place
    • Leading Goal Scorer: Justin MacDonald (32 Goals)
    • Leading Point Scorer: Justin MacDonald (74 Points)
    • Primary Goaltender: Kristian Stead (18-8-1, .912 Save %)
    • Thunderbolts 22-23 Record vs KNX: 1-2-0

The Ice Bears were defeated for a second game in a row by the Macon Mayhem, 7-5 on Friday night.  Rex Moe and Razmuz Waxin-Engback each scored twice, while Russell Rourke scored one goal.  The Ice Bears managed to outscore Macon on Saturday, winning by an 8-6 score as Waxin-Engback, Bailey Conger, and Russell each scored twice, while Dean Balsamo and Nick Pryce scored one goal each.  On Sunday, the Ice Bears were defeated by Roanoke 7-3, with two goals from Ryan Devine and one from Pryce.

 Call-up Report 

                 – Chase Perry – Allen Americans (Prev. Greenville) – ECHL

                                – Greenville: 2 GP, 1-0-1, 1.93 GAA, .944 Save %
– Allen: 17 GP, 10-6-1, 3.36 GAA, .910 Save %

                – Matthew Barron – Trois-Rivieres Lions (Prev. Indy) – ECHL
– Indy: 4 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 0 PIM
– Trois-Rivieres: 34 GP, 5 G, 3 A, 8 P, 8 PIM

                – Mike Ferraro – Savannah Ghost Pirates – ECHL

                                – 7 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 P, 6 PIM

                – Dillon Hill – Trois-Rivieres Lions – ECHL

                                – 15 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, 18 PIM


Wed. 3/29: LW Cameron Cook returned from call-up to Trois-Rivieres (ECHL)
Wed. 3/29: LW Mathieu Cloutier placed on waivers
Sat. 3/26: D Jeremy Masella signed from professional tryout to standard contract
Sat. 3/26: D Austin Rook signed to professional tryout

Sat. 3/26: D Kyle Thacker placed on waivers