ERIXON, 'JAM' IGNITE FALCONS' ROUT OF WHALE
Hartford, Conn. - Tim Erixon and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault scored early goals in a reunion with their former club on Sunday night, sparking the Springfield Falcons (6-1-0-2) to a crushing 10-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale (4-4-1-0) at the XL Center. The 10 Springfield goals matched the second-highest single-game total in franchise history and were the most collected by the club in nearly 13 years.
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Erixon, who in 2011-2012 led Whale defensemen with 33 points and 30 assists, was aggressive in the early stages, crashing the net on his second shift. His persistence paid off, as the second-year pro pushed in a rebound off a Tomas Kubalik shot at 3:54 for a 1-0 Falcon advantage. Audy-Marchessault collected the second assist on the goal.
The two prior Connecticut standouts reversed roles on Springfield's second goal. Audy-Marchessault, who paced the Whale with 64 points and 40 assists last season, corralled a pass at center from Erixon, jetted down the left-wing boards, cut in on Whale netminder Cameron Talbot, and jammed the puck into the net at 11:53, extending the lead to 2-0.
Nick Drazenovic snapped a puck in from the right circle just 23 seconds later, capping the Falcons' productive first period, chasing Talbot from the game at 12:16, and upping Springfield's edge to 3-0.
The second period began as a near clone of the opening 20 minutes, with the Falcons ripping off three more goals.
Ryan Johansen tipped a Nick Holden shot past Jason Missiaen, who had replaced Talbot in the first, at 3:56 to increase the advantage to 4-0.
Upon exiting the penalty box near the halfway point of the game, Kubalik received a long feed from Matt Calvert and blasted the puck past Missiaen from the right circle at 9:32 for a 5-0 lead.
Audy-Marchessault then set up Johansen for the eventual 6-0 stranglehold by twirling in the right corner and spinning the puck in front. Johansen took the pass and flipped the puck over Missiaen, becoming the first Falcon to score twice in the same game in 2012-2013 at 16:47.
Tommy Grant redirected a Michael Haley drive past Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney at 16:47, putting the Whale on the board, 6-1.
After Matt Gilroy wristed in a shot from the slot with Connecticut on the power play at 1:40 of the third to make it 6-2, the Falcons kicked their offense back into high gear.
Andrew Joudrey rolled a puck in at the top of the crease at 6:48 to calm Connecticut's momentum and put Springfield back up by five, 7-2, at 6:48.
Cam Atkinson snapped a centering feed from Matt Calvert past Missiaen at 8:47, as Springfield matched the previous 2012-2013 AHL single-game high of eight goals.
Michael Chaput became the eighth Falcon to score at 9:50, connecting from the left circle to make it 9-2.
Drazenovic gave Springfield a late power-play tally and closed out the scoring at 18:24, as the Falcons reached 10 goals in a game for the first time in the millenium.
McElhinney (6-1-0-1) made 27 saves to pull into a tie for the league lead in wins. Talbot (3-1-0-0) took the loss for Connecticut with eight saves on 11 shots in an abbreviated outing. Missiaen permitted seven goals on 22 shots in relief.
The storyline of the game initially centered around the return of Erixon and Audy-Marchessault to Hartford, but gradually switched to Springfield's offensive fireworks display. The 10 goals scored by the Falcons were the most since Dec. 30, 1999, when they routed the Providence Bruins, 14-2. The 14 goals that day stand as the franchise record. Springfield also scored in double digits in a 10-7 win over Providence on Nov. 16, 1996. The Falcons' 10 tallies on Sunday evening were the most by the club in an away contest in their 19-year existence.
Erixon's arrival back in Connecticut was highlighted by a +6 performance, the best 60-minute rating of any AHL skater in 2012-2013. He produced four points on the evening (1g-3a), the most by any Falcon this season. Audy-Marchessault registered three points (1g-2a) for the second time in the campaign, and was +4.
In addition to setting a 2012-2013 AHL mark with 10 goals, the Falcons also produced league highs of 26 points and 16 assists. The eight-goal winning margin additionally was the largest by any team to date this season. Of the Falcons' 18 skaters, 14 prevailed from the game with at least one point.
After taking points in eight of their first nine games for the second time in franchise history, the Falcons are alone in first place in the Eastern Conference following the fourth week of AHL action. Springfield is back at home next weekend to host Connecticut on Friday, Nov. 9 on Hometown Heroes Night presented by MGM Springfield at the MassMutual Center at 7:00 p.m. The Falcons close out the week by welcoming the reigning Calder Cup champion Norfolk Admirals to The Nest on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 5:00 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's 10 goals were the most by any AHL team since Oct. 25, 2011, when Oklahoma City defeated Texas, 10-1...The Falcons had not scored more than four goals in a game all season and had not struck more than four times since Apr. 7, 2012, when they beat St. John's, 6-3...Springfield had 14 players who were +1 or better...Kubalik and Dalton Prout both secured +5 outings, tying for second best in the AHL this season to Erixon's +6...The Falcons allowed two goals and have limited their opponents to fewer than three in regulation and overtime in eight of the nine games this season...Audy-Marchessault pulled into a tie for fifth in the league with 11 points (4g-7a)...He is now tied for the league lead at +11...Johansen is third in the league at +10...Kubalik and John Moore are tied for fourth at +9...The Falcons had last scored more than seven goals in a game on Feb. 12, 2011 (8-2 vs. Providence)...Springfield had been the last remaining AHL team without a multi-goal scorer in one game before Johansen's two second-period conversions...The Falcons are 2-0-0-0 on the road this season...They are the last remaining unbeaten team in away contests...Springfield's .778 standings points percentage is tied with the Abbotsford Heat for the highest in the AHL