FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: JAN. 16
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (21-9-3-3) lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by eight points with two games in hand for first place in the Northeast Division during the 15th week of the 2012-2013 AHL season. The Falcons took three of a possible four points last week, responding from a hard-fought, 4-3 overtime defeat in Worcester on Friday with an emphatic 4-2 victory over Providence in front of a season-high crowd of 6,497 fans at the MassMutual Center on Saturday. Springfield opened a busy four-game week on Tuesday with a 7-5 win in Manchester.
The Falcons, who have won three-straight games in Springfield, return home to host the Connecticut Whale on Friday and the Albany Devils on Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
Falcons fans and Big Y customers can save $5 off a full-priced adult ticket by presenting their Big Y Card at the MassMutual Center Box Office now through two hours prior to the start of Friday's game as part of "Big Y Night." Youth and other discounted tickets are not eligible for this promotion. Fans in attendance on Friday will also ave the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances (MannysTV.com) as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
On Saturday, Wally the Green Monster and Screech will pick the winner of the "AAA Spring Training Getaway" during the first intermission of "Red Sox Night presented by AAA Travel." Five finalists were selected from entries through the five AAA Pioneer Valley locations and through AAA.com/Promo to win a three-day, two-night trip to Fort Myers. The grand prize includes two round-trip airline tickets, a two-night hotel stay, and two tickets to two Red Sox spring training games. The Pawtucket Red Sox and their mascot, Paws, will be displaying their Governors' Cup in the concourse as part of their 2012 International League championship celebration. Fans can also win a free bicycle courtesy of Gus Coelho Auto Repair at 442 Holyoke St. in Ludlow as part of "Cycle Saturday" at the MassMutual Center (GusAutoRepair.net).
Springfield closes out the weekend in Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon.
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
Worcester 4, Springfield 3 (OT)
Friday, Jan. 11
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The Falcons battled back from three one-goal deficits during their Friday game in Worcester and scored in the final minute of regulation to send the game into overtime. Worcester led 1-0 after one on a goal by Freddie Hamilton, but Springfield responded in the second, as Tomas Kubalik posted the first of his season-high two goals. After Denny Urban scored from the left-wing boards later in the middle stanza, Ryan Johansen finished off a Jonathan Audy-Marchessault centering feed in the third, tying the game, 2-2. Bracken Kearns redirected an Urban drive by Curtis McElhinney halfway through the third, as Worcester captured its third one-goal lead. With McElhinney pulled and Springfield on a power play, Kubalik pushed in a rebound off a Tim Erixon shot with 58 seconds remaining, as the Falcons forced overtime, 3-3. Nick Petrecki fired in the game winner with under a minute to go in the sudden-death stanza, as the Sharks prevailed, 4-3.
Springfield 4, Providence 2
Saturday, Jan. 12
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The Falcons never trailed against the Bruins on Saturday, as the largest crowd of the season ventured into the MassMutual Center. Ryan Craig finished off a stylish tic-tac-toe play involving Nick Drazenovic and Nich Holden at 7:32 of the first, giving Springfield a 1-0 advantage. After Torey Krug wristed a puck by Allen York, Cody Goloubef blasted in his first goal of the season, guiding a shot by Mike Hutchinson from the right point as the Falcons emerged from the first period with a 2-1 edge. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault added two more goals, tapping in a centering feed from Craig late in the second and then burying a shot from the right circle midway through the third, as Springfield went up, 4-1. Wes O'Neill's shot in the final 10 seconds of regulation deflected into the net off of York's glove, but Springfield won, 4-2.
Springfield 7, Manchester 5
Tuesday, Jan. 15
Verizon Wireless Arena
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Springfield earned one of its wildest victories of the season in a game dominated by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who netted the Falcons' first hat trick since Feb. 19, 2011. Audy-Marchessault scored twice in the first period, as Springfield emerged from the opening 20 minutes with a 3-2 lead. Wade MacLeod struck in highlight-reel fashion for his first goal of the year early in the second, as Springfield opened its advantage to 4-2. The Monarchs rallied with goals from Nick Deslauriers and Tanner Pearson, as the clubs exited the middle frame tied, 4-4. Tomas Kubalik put the Falcons in front just 43 seconds into the third, striking from a sharp angle on the right side to make it 5-4. After Andy Andreoff tied the game midway through the final stanza, the Falcons went on their second and final power play of the game. Audy-Marchessault corralled a feed from Nick Holden and rocketed a shot by Jean-Francois Berube from the left circle, as the Falcons went up, 6-5. Michael Chaput sealed the contest by scoring his second goal of the night with 4:12 remaining in regulation, as the Falcons exited Manchester with a 7-5 victory.
Friday, Jan. 18 - Springfield vs. Connecticut, MassMutual Center, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 19 - Springfield vs. Albany, MassMutual Center, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20 - Springfield at Bridgeport, Webster Bank Arena, 3:00 p.m.
NEAR-CAPACITY CROWD HIGHLIGHTS VICTORY
The crowd of 6,497 fans on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center was the largest of the 2012-2013 campaign, and the Falcons responded to the exciting atmosphere with a dominant 4-2 victory over the Bruins. The audience at The Nest was the largest since a sellout crowd of 6,789 saw Springfield defeat Providence on Mar. 31, 2012, 3-1.
HAT-TRICK STREAK SNAPPED, 'JAM' ON A TEAR
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault's hat trick on Tuesday was Springfield's first in 136 games, dating back to Kyle Wilson's three-goal outing in a 3-2 overtime win over Worcester on Feb. 19, 2011. Audy-Marchessault has been on a tear over the last four games, scoring seven goals and adding three assists for 10 points. The second-year pro now leads the Falcons in scoring and is in third place in the AHL with 40 points (16g-24a). His 24 assists are also tops among Springfield skaters, while his 16 goals place him one shy of Cam Atkinson for the club lead. After playing the first 32 games of the season without a multi-goal effort, Audy-Marchessault has struck at least twice in three of the last four contests. The Quebec City native has game-winning goals in back-to-back appearances, his first two of that variety this year.
Nick Drazneovic has six assists over the last two games after adding two helpers in Tuesday's win. His 22 assists on the season trail only Audy-Marchessault's 24 for the most by a Falcon. Drazenovic is third on Springfield with 32 points (10g-22a). He set a career-high on Saturday with four assists in the victory over Providence, tying the 2012-2013 AHL single-game mark.
CHAPUT STEPS UP
Michael Chaput has more than doubled his point production in January alone from the first three months of the season. The rookie collected six points (2g-4a) in the 2012 portion of the campaign, but has seven points (3g-4a) in six contests in 2013. Chaput set career highs with two goals and three points on Tuesday, and is tied with Sean Collins for the Falcons rookie scoring lead at 13 points (Chaput: 5g-8a, Collins: 6g-7a).
Ryan Craig added three assists in Tuesday's victory and has points in seven of the last eight contests (5g-5a). He has 50 goals in a Springfield sweater, the most by an active Falcon and ninth most in team history.
Springfield is 12 games over .500 for the first time since it ended the 1997-1998 campaign with a 45-26-7-2 mark.
Curtis McElhinney continues to lead the AHL with six shutouts and is now tied for second in the league with 17 victories. The eighth-year pro is sixth in the league with a .928 save percentage and is eighth with a 2.25 goals-against average.
IN GOOD STANDING
The Falcons are five points back of the Syracuse Crunch with a game in hand for first place in the Eastern Conference. Springfield has the third-highest points percentage in the league of .667, trailing Syracuse (.716) and the Binghamton Senators (.714). The Falcons are tied for second in the conference with Portland at 48 points, but has two games in hand on the Pirates.
With their .667 points percentage, the Falcons are on pace to compile 101 points this season, which would break the team record of 100, set in 1995-1996. Springfield is on pace to collect 44 wins, one shy of the club standard of 45, accomplished in 1997-1998. Both of the aforementioned records were set in 80-game seasons, whereas the Falcons are in reach of those marks in a 76-game campaign.
A STRONG RUN
The Falcons have taken points in six of their last seven games (4-1-1-0).
BACK IN FIRST
Springfield returned to a tie for first place in the AHL in goal differential, equaling the Toronto Marlies' +33 mark on Tuesday evening.
TAKING REIGN IN MANCHESTER
The Falcons had limited success in their first 11 seasons of competition against the Monarchs in Manchester, winning only eight of 47 games at the Verizon Wireless Arena from 2001-2002 through 2011-2012. Springfield bucked the trend this year, however, going 3-0-0-0 in 2012-2013 in Manchester.
MASTERING THE MAN ADVANTAGE
Springfield was perfect on two power-play chances on Tuesday and has at least one goal on the man advantage in each of the last eight contests. The Falcons are fifth in the league in that department at 20.4%. Springfield has scored on the power play in 27 of its 36 games this year.
The Falcons have been just as good on the penalty kill, also checking in fifth in the league in that category at 85.6%. Springfield is the only AHL team to have a top five power play and penalty kill.
CODY COMES THROUGH IN RETURN
After missing two months with an injury, Cody Goloubef returned to the lineup on Friday in Worcester. The third-year pro has points in all three contests since coming back to the ice (1g-2a) and gave Springfield the lead for good on Saturday against Providence with his first goal of the season.
MIDWEEK MYSTERY SOLVED
The Falcons registered their first midweek win of the season on Tuesday night. Springfield's last victory notched in a game played Monday through Thursday was on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 in Worcester, 4-2. The Falcons were 0-3-0-0 in midweek action in 2012-2013 prior to Tuesday's win.
OVERTIME DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE
The Falcons’ struggles in sudden-death overtime were extended on Friday, as Springfield dropped its sixth-straight decision in the extra session. Springfield has not won in the sudden-death stanza since defeating Worcester, 3-2, on Nov. 16, 2011. The Falcons have one win in seven post-regulation appearances this season, prevailing in a shootout over Manchester on Dec. 16, 3-2. Springfield is one of just four AHL teams, along with division rivals Albany and Connecticut and also Hamilton, that has not won a game in sudden-death overtime this season.
HELMER JUMPS ON BOARD
Veteran defenseman Bryan Helmer signed an AHL contract with Springfield last week. The 40-year-old is the leading scorer in league history among defensemen with 562 points (129g-433a).
WADE WIRES IN FIRST
Wade MacLeod scored his first AHL goal of the season on Tuesday night. He last struck for the Falcons on Apr. 13, 2012, scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Adirondack. MacLeod has six goals in five games with the ECHL's Evansville IceMen this season.
TOMAS TURNS IT ON
Tomas Kubalik snapped a 10-game scoreless drought with two goals on Friday in Worcester, including the tying tally in the final minute of regulation. He followed up that performance with his ninth goal of the year on Tuesday.
BLUE JACKETS KICK OFF SEASON ON SATURDAY
The Columbus Blue Jackets, Springfield's NHL affiliate, will kick off their 2012-2013 campaign on Saturday night in Nashville. The Blue Jackets host the Detroit Red Wings in their home opener next Monday, with the game televised on the NBC Sports Network. Six players who skated the start of the season with Springfield are in Columbus' training camp: Forwards Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert, and Ryan Johansen, and defensemen Tim Erixon, John Moore, and David Savard.
BIRDS BOWLING BASH A SUCCESS
Falcons ticket package holders flocked to Spare Time Northampton on Sunday for the Birds Bowling Bash presented by Webster Bank. To view photos from the event, click here.
NOMINATE A HERO AMONG US
Throughout the season, fans can submit a nomination for TD Bank's "Heroes Among Us" program. Nominees can include teachers, doctors, firefighters, community volunteers, and other individuals you think deserve to be honored at a Falcons game. For more information and to nominate, click here.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF JANUARY SPECIALS AT FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP
Take advantage of January 25% off specials at the Falcons Nest Pro Shop! Items discounted at 25% off include Reebok Center Ice Jackets, Traverse Winter Jackets, red youth Falcons replica jerseys, scarves, and winter hats.
The Tower Square location of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop is open for the remainder of the season 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday and Thursday.
The Tower Square venue, located at 1500 Main St. in downtown Springfield, gives fans a chance to browse a wide variety of Falcons merchandise and ticket packages in a popular downtown location.
Fans can continue to shop for all Falcons gear and ticket packages at the primary home of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop, located inside the team office at 45 Falcons Way, during normal business hours or online by clicking here. The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.
TOWER SQUARE STORE HOURS
Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.