FALCONS COMPLETE PERFECT WEEK WITH FIFTH-STRAIGHT WIN
Bridgeport, Conn. - The Springfield Falcons (24-9-3-3) earned their fourth victory of the week in as many contests and posted their first five-game winning streak in nearly 15 years on Sunday afternoon at Webster Bank Arena, cruising by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-17-2-2), 4-1.
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The Falcons' five-game winning streak is their first since they posted a franchise-record nine-straight victories from Mar. 6 to 28, 1998. Springfield collected four wins within the same week for the first time since it went 4-1-0-0 in five contests from Nov. 11 to 17, 2002, extended its cushion in the Northeast Division to 12 points over Bridgeport, and tied the Binghamton Senators for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Springfield needed only 12 seconds of power-play time on its first opportunity of the contest to convert and take a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault snapped a puck on net, and Ryan Craig deflected it on the doorstep to Nick Drazenovic in the right circle. Drazenovic drove the puck by the glove of Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin at 3:12, as Springfield went up, 1-0.
Ryan Russell's slick penalty killing early in the second period led to the veteran escaping on a breakaway. Russell was hauled down from behind and received a penalty shot, but Poulin kicked the attempt away with his right pad, keeping it a one-goal contest.
With the Falcons working in the latter stages of their second power play of the game, Wade MacLeod's shot from the right circle deflected off the stick of a Sound Tiger and changed directions toward the goal. The puck reached the net as Poulin dove on it, and the play was initially whistled as no goal by referee Terry Koharski. After watching the video replay, however, Koharski overturned it and credited MacLeod with the goal on his 26th birthday, as Springfield increased its lead to 2-0 at 13:24.
After being unable to score on a shorthanded chance earlier in the period, the Falcons took advantage of another surge on the penalty kill later in the middle frame. Led by Drazenovic, the Falcons skated into the zone on a two-on-one rush, which developed into a three-on-two as Nick Holden jumped into the play. Drazenovic's pass deflected off a Sound Tiger to the slot for Holden, who pounded a shot off the crossbar and in at 18:44, as the Falcons emerged from the second period with a 3-0 edge.
Midway through the third period, Holden's wrist shot from the left point slowed down as it hit the glove of a Sound Tiger. The pace change of the puck caught Poulin off guard, and it knuckled into the net at 9:14 for a 4-0 Falcons advantage.
Springfield goaltender Paul Dainton battled late into the game for his second-career AHL shutout, but the Sound Tigers converted on a power play with 29 seconds remaining, as Jack Combs snuck a shot under the crossbar from the right circle. The Falcons prevailed, 4-1.
Dainton (3-3-1) turned aside 28 of 29 shots for his second win in as many days. Poulin (12-9-2) allowed four goals on 26 Falcon attempts.
After heading to Albany on Wednesday in search of the third six-game winning streak in franchise history, Springfield returns home on Friday to host the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. The first 1,000 fans into the building 12 and under will receive a youth specialty Falcons jersey, courtesy of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. Fans in attendance on Friday will also have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances (MannysTV.com) as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
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).
Audy-Marchessault extended his point streak to seven games (7g-7a), while Drazenovic increased his to five games (3g-7a)...Drazenovic has goals in three-straight contests...The Falcons extended their power-play goal-scoring streak to 11 games...Tim Spencer returned to the lineup for his first contest since Nov. 25 after missing the last 21 games...The five-game winning streak is the Falcons' fourth of that length in franchise history...Springfield is on a seven-game point streak (6-0-1-0), tying a season high...Holden's two-goal game was the second of his career and first since he scored twice with the Falcons in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Feb. 27, 2011...Springfield improved to 9-1-0-0 in Sunday action, including 5-0-0-0 on the road...The Falcons are 5-1-0-0 in the final game of a three-in-three stretch, including a 4-0-0-0 away mark...Springfield is 15 games over .500 for the first time since it ended the 1997-1998 season with a 45-26-7-2 record