FALCONS PULL AWAY FROM WHALE
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (22-9-3-3) fell behind early but scored four-straight goals on Friday night at the MassMutual Center to pull away from the Connecticut Whale (16-19-3-1) and earn their fourth-straight victory, 4-2.
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Springfield upped its Northeast Division advantage to 10 points with a game in hand on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with the victory. The Falcons will attempt to win four-straight contests for the first time since December of 2006 when they welcome the Albany Devils to The Nest on Saturday.
Kris Newbury netted the first of his two goals on the game just 49 seconds into the contest, receiving a long feed at center ice from Mike Vernace, flying into the Falcons end, and snapping a puck past the stick of Springfield netminder Allen York, as Connecticut captured a 1-0 lead.
Tim Erixon, assigned to Springfield by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, took a tip pass at center from Nick Drazenovic, stickhandled around Dylan McIlrath to gain the Whale end, and wristed a puck off of Connecticut goaltender Cam Talbot and in at 4:07, tying the game, 1-1. The goal was Erixon's fourth of 2012-2013 against the Whale and his career-high fifth of the season.
Nearing the halfway point of the first, Drazenovic corralled a puck from Sean Collins in the neutral zone, skated in on a two-on-one rush, and fired a shot by Talbot from the right circle at 9:57, putting Springfield in front permanently, 2-1.
Ryan Craig knocked down an Erixon blue-line shot on the doorstep, settled the puck down, and slid it by Talbot at 8:34, increasing the Falcons' advantage to 3-1.
Toward the end of their second man-advantage opportunity of the game, Tomas Kubalik positioned himself in front of Talbot and deflected a Nick Holden middle-point shot into the net, as Springfield converted on the power play for the ninth-straight contest and extended its edge to 4-1.
The Falcons held their three-goal cushion until the final moments of the game, when Newbury put home a loose puck in front off a Chad Kolarik shot at 19:26, but Springfield prevailed, 4-2.
York (4-3-0) stopped 24 of 26 shots, as he won his third-straight start. Talbot (13-17-0) let in four goals on Springfield's 28 bids.
The game had significance in the AHL's 77-year history as defenseman Bryan Helmer made his 2012-2013 debut. Helmer, signed by Springfield last week, became the third player to participate in 19 AHL seasons.
On Saturday when Springfield takes on Albany, 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).
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 has lost in each of its last 12 attempts at earning four-straight victories since last accomplishing the feat from Dec. 23 to 30, 2006...The Falcons have won four-consecutive home contests within the same season for the first time since ending the 2011-2012 campaign with five-straight home wins...Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (7g-4a)...He leads all Falcons against the Whale - his 2011-2012 club - with 10 points (1g-9a)...Erixon, who also played for Connecticut last season, is second on Springfield with nine points (4g-5a) versus the Whale in 2012-2013...Audy-Marchessault has 41 points (16g-25a), leading Springfield in that category and checking in third in the AHL...The Falcons have scored on the power play in 28 of their 37 games...Springfield improved to 4-2-0-0 against Connecticut this season