FALCONS OUTLAST MONARCHS IN SHOOTOUT
Manchester, N.H. - The Springfield Falcons (15-5-2-3) recorded their first post-regulation victory of the season on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena, responding to a third-period rally by the Manchester Monarchs (12-11-2-2) before prevailing in a shootout, 3-2.
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The Falcons entered the game as one of two teams in the AHL without an overtime or shootout win in 2012-2013 but secured a victory to build an eight-point edge on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for first place in the Northeast Division.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Springfield took advantage of its third power play of the contest to secure a 1-0 lead. Cam Atkinson received a pass in the left circle from David Savard and fired a shot by the stick of Manchester netminder Martin Jones at 5:55 as Springfield struck first.
The Falcons, who took a 12-0-0-0 record into the game when leading after two, saw their advantage turn into a deficit in the third.
Off of a face-off in Springfield's end, Thomas Hickey snapped a puck past Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney at 4:05, tying the game, 1-1.
Brandon Kozun corralled a long lead pass from Dwight King, skated in on McElhinney through the right circle, and wristed a puck over his glove at 7:25, as Manchester grabbed a 2-1 advantage.
Savard posted the second of his two assists on the afternoon by setting up Jonathan Audy-Marchessault for the game-tying tally. Audy-Marchessault took the puck at the top of the left circle and ripped a shot over Jones' glove, off the crossbar, and into the net at 13:12, evening the contest, 2-2.
In overtime, McElhinney kept the Falcons in the game by robbing a wide-open Jake Muzzin in the slot with a glove stop 1:26 into extra session, eventually helping the contest progress to a shootout.
Atkinson and Nick Drazenovic each converted in the first two rounds of the shootout to give the Falcons an early and commanding advantage in the skills competition. McElhinney denied the Monarchs on each of their four opportunities, as Springfield won the shootout, 2-0, and the game, 3-2.
McElhinney (14-3-2) posted his league-best 14th win with a 32-save performance. Jones (7-11-2) set aside 25 of 27 shots.
With the win, Springfield pulled to within two points of the Syracuse Crunch with a game in hand for first place in the Eastern Conference.
After venturing to Portland and Hershey this week, the Falcons return home on Thursday, Dec. 27 to host the Albany Devils at the MassMutual Center.
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. For information about discounted group packages to Falcons home games, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
Springfield's last shootout win was on Mar. 23, 2012 against Bridgeport...Springfield is now 0-2 in sudden-death OT and 1-3 in shootouts...The Albany Devils are the last remaining AHL team without an overtime or shotoout win this season...McElhinney allowed a third-period goal after posting a shutout in the first two frames for just the second time in seven situations this season...Atkinson extended his point streak to eight games (7g-6a), tying David Savard for the longest point streak by a Falcon this season...The Falcons scored their first power-play goal in three games and were perfect on the penalty kill for the first time in four games...Springfield's road record of 9-2-1-0 (.792) is the highest in the AHL...Atkinson is alone in ninth in Falcons history with 47 goals in a Springfield sweater...He is third in the league with a Springfield-best 29 points and 15 goals...The Falcons are now 13-0-0-0 when leading after two periods