FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: DEC. 17
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (15-5-2-3) posted a shootout win in Manchester on Sunday to enter the 11th week of the 2012-2013 regular season with the second-best record in the AHL. The Falcons took three of six points last week, dropping a 6-3 decision in Providence to the Bruins on Friday, battling back with a late goal at home on Saturday against St. John's before succumbing to the IceCaps in overtime, 3-2, and then closing out the three-in-three stretch against the Monarchs on Sunday by earning their first post-regulation win of the season in a shootout, 3-2. Springfield plays two road games this week, heading to Portland on Wednesday and Hershey on Saturday, before venturing on its brief Christmas break. The Falcons hold an eight-point lead on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for first place in the Northeast Division and are two points behind the Syracuse Crunch with a game in hand for the Eastern Conference's top spot.
The Falcons return home on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 7:00 p.m. to host the Albany Devils at the MassMutual Center, kicking off a three-game set that week at The Nest. Springfield welcomes the Connecticut Whale to town on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7:00 p.m. before finishing off the weekend at the MassMutual Center on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 5:00 p.m. against the Norfolk Admirals.
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).
Click here for the Falcons' individual statistics.
Click here for the AHL standings.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Providence 6, Springfield 3
Friday, Dec. 14
Dunkin Donuts Center
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The Falcons faced a three-goal deficit entering the third period, as Lane MacDermid, Jamie Tardif, and Craig Cunningham all scored for the Bruins in the middle stanza. Springfield responded with a pair of quick, early tallies in the third, as Tomas Kubalik and Nick Drazenovic connected within 18 seconds of each other to make it a one-goal game. After Tardif posted his second goal of the game, Cam Atkinson deflected a John Moore shot into the net near the halfway point of the third to draw back to within one. Springfield would get no closer, however, as Ryan Spooner scored on a breakaway for Providence and Tardif completed the hat trick late with an empty-netter as the Falcons fell, 6-3. The three-goal defeat was Springfield's largest of the season and just the second by more than one score.
St. John's 3, Springfield 2 (OT)
Saturday, Dec. 15
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Springfield returned to the MassMutual Center on Saturday night hoping to come away with points after leaving Providence empty-handed on Friday. Sean Collins redirected a Michael Chaput shot into the net to give the Falcons a first-period lead, but Spencer Machacek struck on the power play for the IceCaps, as St. John's tied the game through 20 minutes. After a scoreless second period, Ray Sawada's man-advantage tally gave St. John's its first lead early in the final session. The IceCaps took their advantage into the final minute, but Ryan Johansen broke through with Springfield's most dramatic goal of the season. With Allen York, making his 2012-2013 AHL debut for the Falcons, pulled for the extra attacker, the Falcons converged on the IceCaps' net. Atkinson and David Savard jammed the puck toward the net, and eventually Johansen stuffed it in to tie the game with 27.1 seconds left, force overtime, and help the Falcons collect a point. Ivan Telegin finished off a two-on-one in the opening minute of overtime, firing the puck home from the right circle to lift St. John's past Springfield, 3-2.
Springfield 3, Manchester 2 (SO)
Sunday, Dec. 16
Verizon Wireless Arena
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The Falcons took a 1-0 lead after two periods on an Atkinson power-play goal in the second frame. Springfield, which had been 12-0-0-0 when carrying a lead into the third period saw its advantage evaporate in the early stages of the final stanza, as Thomas Hickey and Brandon Kozun converted for Manchester to give the Monarchs a one-goal edge. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault blasted in a one-timer in from the left circle off of a David Savard feed to even the score and push the Falcons into overtime for the second-straight night. Curtis McElhinney's rob of a wide-open Jake Muzzin in the extra session eventually sent the contest into a shootout. The Falcons, who had been a combined 0-5 in overtime and shootouts entering the game, broke through for two points in the skills competition. Atkinson and Drazenovic scored for the Falcons in the first two rounds, while McElhinney was perfect on the Monarchs' four attempts, and Springfield prevailed, 3-2.
Wednesday, Dec. 19 - Springfield at Portland, 7:00 p.m., Cumberland County Civic Center
Saturday, Dec. 22 - Springfield at Hershey, 7:00 p.m., Giant Center
MAN ON FIRE
Cam Atkinson tied David Savard for the longest point streak by a Falcon this season on Sunday with his second-period goal. Atkinson has points in eight-straight games (7g-6a), the longest active such streak in the league. The second-year pro is third in the league with a team-leading 29 points and 15 goals, one year after pacing the Falcons as a rookie with 29 tallies. His five game-winning goals are tied for the most in the AHL. Atkinson scored in Sunday's shootout and is 2/3 in the skills competition this season.
'JAM' RISES TO FOURTH
Right behind Atkinson is Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who registered a goal on Sunday to collect his 27th point of the year, placing him into a tie for fourth in the league in scoring. Audy-Marchessault's 19 assists are the most by a Falcon through 25 games and are tied for the third-highest total in the league.
JOHANSEN COMES UP CLUTCH
Ryan Johansen's goal on Saturday night with 27.1 seconds remaining in regulation helped the Falcons collect a point in the overtime loss to St. John's. On the play, Johansen registered a point for a fifth-straight game (3g-4a) but saw that streak come to an end on Sunday in the win over Manchester. His nine goals are second-most on the Falcons to Atkinson.
ANOTHER WIN FOR MCELHINNEY
Curtis McElhinney won his AHL-best 14th game on Sunday, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the two-point outing. McElhinney's five shutouts and 588 saves are also league highs, while his .935 save percentage is third and his 2.08 goals-against average is sixth.
David Savard had two assists in Sunday's win to move into third among AHL defensemen with 17 helpers on the season and into a tie for sixth with 19 points. His assist on Atkinson's goal was his ninth on the power play this season, placing Savard into a tie for third among AHL blue-liners in that category.
The Falcons' shootout win on Sunday was the club's first victory following regulation this season. Springfield entered the weekend finale as one of two teams, along with Albany, without an overtime or a shootout win in 2012-2013. The Falcons' shootout victory was their first since Mar. 23, 2012 (Bridgeport). Springfield has not won in sudden-death overtime since Nov. 16, 2011 (Worcester) and has dropped five-straight games decided in the five-minute extra period dating back to last season. The Falcons had earned four-consecutive victories in sudden-death decisions dating back to 2010-2011 before starting their current overtime losing skid.
DOZEN DOESN'T DO IT
On Friday, the Falcons were attempting to win a fourth-straight game within the same season for the first time since Dec. 23 to 30, 2006. For the 12th time since last accomplishing the feat, however, the Falcons lost their fourth game after winning three-consecutive contests with the defeat in Providence.
Springfield reclaimed the league's top road record of 9-2-1-0 (.792) on Sunday. The Falcons underwent just their second road regulation defeat of the season on Friday before rebounding in Manchester. Friday's loss ended the club's attempt at tying franchise records of an eight-game road points streak and a five-game road winning streak. Springfield's seven-game road points streak (6-0-1-0) was the second-longest by an AHL team this season.
Springfield remains second in the league in offense and defense, posting 3.48 goals/game (Syracuse - 3.65) while allowing 2.32 goals/game (Abbotsford - 2.00). Springfield's +29 goal differential (87 to 58) is first in the AHL, +4 ahead of second-place Syracuse.
LOVING THE LEAD
The Falcons are a league-best 13-0-0-0 when leading after two periods.
POWER TURNS BACK ON
After going back-to-back contests without a power-play tally for the first time all season on Friday and Saturday, Springfield scored on the man advantage on Sunday. The Falcons' 20.5% power play is fifth-best in the league. Springfield was perfect on four penalty kills Sunday after allowing an opposing power-play goal in the prior four outings. The Falcons' 84.8% penalty kill is ninth in the AHL.
Nick Holden and Andrew Joudrey delivered sweatshirts, socks, winter gloves, toiletries, crossword puzzles, and other items for the male clients of Friends of the Homeless at 755 Worthington St. last Thursday afternoon. The items were purchased through cash contributions by all Falcons players as part of a new partnership between the hockey club and Friends of the Homeless, the largest emergency shelter for non-violent adults in Western Mass.
Click here to watch Joudrey describing the Falcons' contributions to Friends of the Homeless.
The Falcons will also hold a white sock drive at the MassMutual Center to benefit Friends of the Homeless when they play host to the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday, Dec. 30, with a special start time that evening of 5:00 p.m. In addition to bringing winter necessities to Friends of the Homeless on Thursday, Holden and Joudrey also gave 25 tickets to the Dec. 30 gave to Friends of the Homeless on behalf of the Falcons Friends Program.
Fans are asked to bring new and packaged white socks to this event to donate to Friends of the Homeless' guests. Friends of the Homeless will accept the donations at a table in the concourse behind section 1 during the game.
ERIXON, JOHANSEN PAY VISIT
Tim Erixon and Ryan Johansen stopped by Shriners Hospital in Springfield on Monday to deliver Falcons tickets on behalf of the team and Reebok-CCM.
COLLINS, RUSSELL PARTICIPATE IN YOUTH HOCKEY PRACTICE
Sean Collins and Ryan Russell skated with the Holy Name Stars youth hockey team at Olympia Ice Center on Monday evening.
GET YOUR HOLIDAY HAT TRICK PACKAGE TODAY!
Fans can purchase the Dunkin Donuts Holiday Hat Trick Package now through Dec. 30.
The package, an $80 value for only $40, includes two Falcons flex tickets (good for use at any Springfield home game during the remainder of the 2012-2013 season), two hats, and two $5 Dunkin Donuts gift cards. This limited-time offer, which comes packaged in a Dunkin Donuts Munchkins container, makes for a great holiday gift for friends and family.
Fans can purchase this package at the F.L. Roberts Fan Relations Center, online at the team store by clicking here, or by calling the Falcons team offices at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
ENTER NOW TO WIN SPRING TRAINING GETAWAY PACKAGE
Falcons fans and AAA members can enter to win the "Spring Training Getaway presented by AAA Pioneer Valley" now through Thursday, Jan. 10.
Fans can win a trip to see the Boston Red Sox compete in spring training action in Fort Myers, Fla. by entering at any of the five AAA Pioneer Valley locations or online at AAA.com/Promo. Five contestants will be selected from the entries to participate in an intermission drawing by Wally the Green Monster on Red Sox Night presented by AAA Pioneer Valley on Saturday, Jan. 19, when the Falcons host the Albany Devils at the MassMutual Center.
The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip to Fort Myers, which includes two roundtrip airline tickets, a two-night hotel stay, and two tickets to two Red Sox spring training games.