FALCONS RESPOND TO PENGUINS' RALLY, EARN FIRST-EVER 3-0 START
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (3-0-0-0) secured the first 3-0 start in franchise's 19-year history on Friday night at the MassMutual Center, staving off a rally by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (0-2-0-0) to capture a 4-2 victory.
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After Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney made the game's opening three saves, Springfield seized momentum, recording 10 of the next 11 shots on goal. The Falcons' pressure resulted in a five-on-three power play opportunity. With Springfield on the advantage, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault blasted in a one-timer from the left circle over the glove of Penguin netminder Jeff Zatkoff, giving Springfield the 1-0 edge at 5:43.
John Moore's blue-line wrist shot sailed past Zatkoff's glove at 15:07, increasing the Falcons' advantage to 2-0.
The Penguins tried to chip into the Falcons' lead in the second frame, compiling 15 shots. McElhinney was up to the task, however, extending his shutout streak to over five periods. He entered the final stanza having not allowed a goal since the 8:57 mark of the third period of Springfield's opening-night win over St. John's.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallied in the third to tie the game. Joe Morrow drove in a one-timer from the right circle at 6:44 with the Penguins on a power play, and Philippe Dupuis tipped in a Beau Bennett feed at 8:41, evening the score, 2-2.
The Falcons answered the Penguins rally with a pair of late goals to capture the two points and the record-setting start to the season. Cam Atkinson, who led Springfield with 29 goals as a rookie in 2011-2012, snapped in a centering pass from Audy-Marchessault at 11:10, putting the Falcons in front for good, 3-2. Just under five minutes later, Ryan Johansen tapped in an Atkinson set-up on a two-on-one rush, adding to Springfield's lead, 4-2.
McElhinney (3-0-0-0) made 29 saves to earn his third-consecutive win to start the season. Zatkoff (0-2-0-0) set aside 23 of Springfield's 27 shots.
The Falcons remain home on Saturday as they look for their first four-game winning streak since December of 2006 when they host the Providence Bruins on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Single-game tickets to see the Falcons in 2012-2013 can be purchased at the MassMutual Center Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. through game time on Saturday home dates, and starting four hours prior to Sunday home contests. Fans can also purchase tickets by logging onto Ticketmaster.com.
Springfield last won four-consecutive games from Dec. 23 to 30 of 2006, when the Falcons earned two victories over Portland and one each over Hartford and Bridgeport...The Falcons won three-straight games five times in 2011-2012...Curtis McElhinney's shutout streak lasted 117 minutes and 47 seconds...Ryan Craig, who was Springfield's captain the only other time the club had begun a season 2-0 in 2005-2006, beat his former club on Friday in the Penguins...Craig had served as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's captain during each of the past two seasons...The game consisted of 19 power-play chances between the two clubs...The Falcons have won eight-straight home games dating back to the end of the 2011-2012 season