WEBER NETS FIRST PRO GOAL IN FALCONS' OVERTIME LOSS
Bridgeport, Conn. - Will Weber collected his first professional goal on Tuesday night at Webster Bank Arena, as the Springfield Falcons (34-16-5-3) overcame a pair of deficits to secure a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (25-24-5-4).
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Springfield upped its lead in the Northeast Division over Connecticut to 12 points with three games in hand in the defeat. The Falcons have now lost eight-straight decisions in games decided in sudden-death overtime since their last win in the extra session on Nov. 16, 2011. They continue to be in search of their first away victory since Feb. 2, as Springfield fell on the road for a season-high sixth-straight time (0-4-2-0).
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney and the Falcons' penalty kill rose to the occasion late in the first period after Greg Amadio took a game misconduct infraction for interference, forcing the club to face a five-minute power play. McElhinney made two scrambling saves on doorstep opportunities by Nino Niederreiter and Blair Riley, and the Falcons staved off the shorthanded situation and made it to the first intermission scoreless with the Sound Tigers.
A four-goal second followed the quiet initial stanza.
Matt Watkins stepped in front of a pass in Springfield's end and buried a shot on the doorstep 1:33 into the period, giving Bridgeport a 1-0 lead.
The Falcons returned the favor by striking on a Sound Tigers turnover. After Scott Howes and Trent Vogelhuber's rush was slowed, Weber deposited his milestone tally in his 50th-career contest. The Gaylord, Mich. native intercepted a Bridgeport clearing attempt and blasted a puck from the top of the slot by Sound Tigers netminder Rick DiPietro at 7:38, evening the contest, 1-1.
Niederreiter put Bridgeport back in front, 2-1, at 7:38. After McElhinney made a stop on an Aaron Ness shot, Niederreiter picked up the rebound, switched over to his backhand, and slid the puck in for the go-ahead strike.
Springfield responded again, this time connecting on the power play. Cody Goloubef's right-point shot was knocked down by DiPietro, but Jonathan Audy-Marchessault snapped the rebound over the goaltender's stick and into the net at 17:55, as the teams ventured into the second intermission tied, 2-2. On the play, Audy-Marchessault became the first Falcon to reach 18 goals on the season, breaking a tie for the club lead with Cam Atkinson and Ryan Johansen.
The Falcons outshot the Sound Tigers, 9-5, in the final regulation period, but neither team could break through for the advantage, and the teams moved into extra time.
Springfield was hoping to end its away winless skid, which began on Feb. 12 with a 4-3 overtime loss in Bridgeport. The Falcons had a carryover power play to begin overtime, but the Sound Tigers fought off the Falcons' man-advantage grouping of Audy-Marchessault, Ryan Craig, Nick Holden, and David Savard.
Bridgeport embarked on a power play of its own at the midway point of the extra session, and David Ullstrom tapped in a centering feed from Ness past McElhinney's glove at 3:33, providing the Sound Tigers with the 3-2 win and the extra point.
McElhinney (23-12-2) faced 39 shots, turning away all but three. DiPietro (3-2-0) made 30 saves on 32 shots.
The Falcons close out their four-game road stretch in Providence on Friday before returning to the MassMutual Center on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. to host the Bruins. Springfield closes out the weekend in Connecticut on Sunday against the Whale.
The first 1,500 fans in attendance on Saturday will receive a free Falcons baseball hat. Fans can also win a free bicycle from Gus Coelho Auto Repair at 442 Holyoke St. in Ludlow as part of "Cycle Saturday." Additionally, select game-worn "Irish Night" jerseys will be auctioned off in the MassMutual Center concourse.
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).
Weber's goal also marked his first professional point...The Falcons avoided dropping three-straight games in regulation for the first time this season. Springfield has gone winless in three-consecutive outings (0-2-1-0) for only the second time in 2012-2013, and first since a stretch from Nov. 23 to 25 in which the club went 0-1-1-1...Audy-Marchessault moved into sole possession of third place in the AHL with his 54th point on the tying tally...The Falcons have taken points in all six games against the Sound Tigers this season (3-0-2-1)...Springfield is now 0-5 in sudden-death overtime in 2012-2013, but is 4-3 in shootouts, with wins in each of its last four appearances in the skills competition