FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: MAR. 18
Springfield, Mass. - Following a busy week and heading into the final month of the 2012-2013 regular season, the Springfield Falcons (34-18-5-4) lead Connecticut by nine points for first place in the Northeast Division with two games in hand on the Whale. Springfield battled back in its games on Tuesday and Friday to collect a point in each contest. The Falcons overcame a pair of second-period deficits in Bridgeport before succumbing to the Sound Tigers in overtime, 3-2, to begin the week, and then kicked off their three-in-three by receiving a late equalizer from Ryan Russell in Providence prior to falling to the Bruins in a shootout, 3-2. Despite the loss, the Falcons clinched a winning season for the second-straight year by advancing past regulation. Springfield returned home on Saturday and underwent a 5-2 defeat to Providence and then dropped its weekend finale to the Whale in Connecticut on Sunday, 3-2.
The Falcons are back home this Wednesday to host Manchester, presented by Junior Achievement, before welcoming Worcester to the MassMutual Center on Friday, presented by Sargento. Fans attending Friday's game will have the opportunity to win a new HDTV, courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances, as part of "Flat-Screen Friday." Both home games this week begin at 7 p.m. The Falcons venture back to Bridgeport on Saturday for their final road meeting with the Sound Tigers in 2012-2013.
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.
Click here for the AHL playoff primer (PDF).
WEEK IN REVIEW
Bridgeport 3, Springfield 2 (OT)
Tuesday, Mar. 12
Webster Bank Arena
Click here for the box score.
Click here for the highlights
After Matt Watkins capitalized on a turnover early in the second period to put the Sound Tigers in front, Will Weber stole a Bridgeport clearing attempt and rocketed in his first professional goal, tying the game, 1-1. Nino Niederreiter deposited a rebound off an Aaron Ness shot later in the frame, but Jonathan Audy-Marchessault flipped in the carom off a Cody Goloubef drive on the power play, making it 2-2. The teams went scoreless in the third period, and after Springfield was unable to capitalize on an overtime power play, Bridgeport made the most of its man-advantage opportunity in the sudden-death stanza. With the Sound Tigers up a man, David Ullstrom tapped in a backdoor setup from Brock Nelson, as Bridgeport won, 3-2.
Providence 3, Springfield 2 (SO)
Friday, Mar. 15
Dunkin' Donuts Center
Click here for the box score.
The Falcons put together a dramatic comeback to clinch a winning season. After Justin Florek pushed a puck in from the top of the crease in the first, Chris Bourque batted in a centering pass in the middle stanza from Torey Krug, giving Providence a 2-0 edge. Springfield had good scoring chances in the first two periods, but could not beat Niklas Svedberg until it finally cracked him late in the game. Nathan Moon commenced the Falcons' rally, taking a puck at Providence's blue line and jamming it into the crease, where Ryan Craig pushed it in with 4:59 remaining. Curtis McElhinney exited to the bench late in regulation, and Providence had Springfield on the ropes as it cleared a puck out of the zone with 30 seconds left. Nick Holden raced back and spun the puck back for Ryan Russell, who sped into the zone, advanced to the right goal line, and beat Svedberg from a sharp angle to tie the game, 2-2, with 22 seconds to go. The Falcons killed off a penalty in overtime, pushing the game into a shootout. Bourque scored the lone goal of the skills competition in the third round, as Providence prevailed, 3-2.
Providence 5, Springfield 2
Saturday, Mar. 16
Click here for the box score.
Click here for the highlights.
Nathan Moon swatted the rebound from a Dalton Smith shot by Niklas Svedberg while falling down at the bottom of the right circle, giving Springfield the game's first goal for the first time in five contests at 10:04 of the opening frame. Justin Florek answered for Providence, tipping in a Colby Cohen blast later in the first to tie it, 1-1. Ryan Spooner wristed in a puck from the low right circle after a scoreless second to put Providence up early in the third, 2-1. Springfield answered around the halfway point of the last stanza, as Nick Drazenovic beat Svedberg with a quick snap shot off a Ryan Russell feed with, making it 2-2. Kyle MacKinnon pitched in a rebound just minutes later, putting Providence in front for good, 3-2. Maxime Sauve then beat Paul Dainton at the top of the crease off a deflection from a Craig Cunningham shot, providing Providence with insurance, 4-2. MacKinnon sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 85 seconds left, as the Bruins swept the home-and-home with a 5-2 victory.
Connecticut 3, Springfield 2
Sunday, Mar. 17
Click here for the box score.
Click here for the highlights.
Matthew Ford started Springfield's St. Patrick's Day game in Hartford on a good note, backhanding in a rebound created by a Jonathan Audy-Marchessault centering feed to give the Falcons an early 1-0 edge. The Whale came right back with a pair of tallies to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Chris Kreider buried a Kris Newbury feed, while Ryan Bourque connected from the right circle to put the Whale in front for the first time, and for good. After the Falcons failed to take advantage of five-straight minutes of power-play time in the second, Blake Parlett fired in a one-timer on a two-on-one rush, as Connecticut led through 40 minutes, 3-1. Ryan Russell feathered in a late tally from the right goal line for the second time on the weekend, gathering a puck from Ryan Craig and sneaking a shot by Jason Missiaen with 3:15 to go to bring Springfield to within one, 3-2. The Falcons could not get another puck past Missiaen the rest of the way, as the Whale emerged victorious.
Wednesday, Mar. 20 - Springfield vs. Manchester, 7:00 p.m., MassMutual Center
Friday, Mar. 22 - Springfield vs. Worcester, 7:00 p.m., MassMutual Center
Saturday, Mar. 23 - Springfield at Bridgeport, 7:00 p.m., Webster Bank Arena
FALCONS CLINCH WINNING SEASON
Springfield will have a record above .500 for the second-straight year after guaranteeing itself a winning season on Friday night in Providence. The Falcons clinched a winning record with 17 games left, equaling the quickest they had wrapped up an above .500 year in franchise history. Springfield also sealed a winning season with 17 games to go in the 1995-1996 season on its way to accumulating a franchise-record 100 points.
MORE LATE HEROICS
Springfield tied a game in the final minute of regulation for the fourth time this season on Friday. The Falcons also scored tying goals with under 60 seconds to go on Dec. 15 vs. St. John’s, Jan. 11 at Worcester, and Feb. 12 in Bridgeport. The Falcons are 2-12-2-2 when trailing after two periods, having fought back to earn points six times when facing a deficit entering the third this season. Springfield has five goals with the goaltender pulled late in games in 2012-2013. The only one that did not tie a game came on Dec. 27 against Albany, when Cam Atkinson scored with 29 seconds left to bring the Falcons within a goal before the club eventually fell to the Devils, 4-3.
The Falcons are second in the AHL in team defense, allowing 2.46 goals/game. Springfield permitted more than four goals in a game for only the fifth time this season on Saturday in its 5-2 loss to Providence. The four-goal third period by the Bruins was only the second in which an opponent struck more than three times against the Falcons. Springfield is on pace to allow 187 goals, 28 fewer than its franchise low of 215, set in the 1995-1996 campaign.
A POINT AWAY
With one more point, Springfield will equal its output from the 2011-2012 season. The Falcons went 36-34-3-3 last season to gather 78 points. Springfield has 77 points with 15 games left this year.
PRODUCTIVE MARCH FOR RUSSELL
Ryan Russell's tying goal on Friday began a season-high three-game point streak (2g-1a) for the veteran left wing. After posting six points (4g-2a) in the first five calendar months of the season, Russell has doubled his production in March. Russell is tied for the Falcons lead this month with Jonathan Audy-Marchessault with six points (4g-2a) and now has 12 points overall (8g-4a) in 2012-2013.
'JAM' STAYS NEAR THE TOP
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault is tied for fifth in the AHL with a Falcons-leading 55 points. He also leads Springfield with 37 assists, placing him into a tie for fourth in the league. Audy-Marchessault's 18 goals are the most by a Springfield skater this season. The second-year pro reached that mark with his overtime-forcing tally in Bridgeport on Tuesday.
AMONG THE BEST
Curtis McElhinney paces the AHL with a Falcons-record eight shutouts, is third in the league with 23 victories, and is fifth with a .924 save percentage. McElhinney is on pace to break the Falcons single-season record for highest save percentage among goaltenders who played in 25 games, currently held by Jean-Marc Pelletier (.922, 2003-2004). His 2.31 goals-against average puts him in range of Manny Legace's club single-season mark (2.27, 1995-1996).
A WEEK OF FIRSTS FOR WEBER
After beating Rick DiPietro for his first professional goal and point in his 50th-career contest on Tuesday in Bridgeport, Will Weber garnered another first on Sunday. The rookie blueliner received the second helper on Ryan Russell's late goal in Connecticut, marking the first assist of his career.
DRAZENOVIC DEPOSITS MILESTONE GOAL
Nick Drazenovic's goal on Saturday was the 100th of his professional career and set a new high for points in a season for the sixth-year pro. Drazenovic has 47 points (17g-30a), one more than his previous mark of 46, set with Peoria in 2010-2011. His 17 goals place him into a four-way tie for second on the Falcons in that category. Drazenovic leads the AHL with 26 power-play points (9g-17a).
CAPTAIN CRAIG CLIMBS THE CHARTS
Ryan Craig scored his first goal since Feb. 17 on Friday, registering his 56th tally in a Falcons sweater to move to one shy of Eric Healey for sixth in team history in that category. He is two power-play goals away from tying Danny Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel for the most man-advantage tallies in team history. Craig has 27 power-play goals, while Briere and Trudel netted 29 with the Falcons.
CODY'S BUSY WEEK
Cody Goloubef skated in five contests last week, including a stretch of four games in four days. Goloubef was active in Bridgeport on Tuesday, assisting on Jonathan Audy-Marchessault's tying goal. He was recalled by Columbus on Wednesday and played for the Blue Jackets in their 2-1 shootout loss to Chicago on Thursday. Goloubef rejoined Springfield on Friday in Providence, nearly winning the game in overtime with a shot from the slot. He returned with the club to the MassMutual Center on Saturday to take on the Bruins and then also played on Sunday in Connecticut.
THREE MAKE DEBUTS
Matthew Ford and Spencer Machacek each made their Springfield debuts on Friday against Providence after being acquired by Columbus in separate trades over the preceding week. Ford, who was scoreless in four games against Connecticut with Adirondack earlier this season, backhanded a puck in during the first period on Sunday versus the Whale to notch his first goal as a Falcon. Thomas Larkin made his professional debut on Sunday after completing his four-year collegiate career at Colgate University (NCAA, D-I). The Cocquio-Trevisago, Italy native posted two shots in his pro premiere.
EXCITING FAN APPRECIATION WEEKEND PLANNED
Celebrity appearances highlight the Falcons' Fan Appreciation Weekend, which will take place on Saturday, Apr. 13 and Sunday, Apr. 14 as the club plays its final two home games of the regular season.
New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley will meet and greet fans in the MassMutual Center concourse at the Falcons game against the Providence Bruins that Saturday, presented by Sherwin Williams. Ridley will sign autographs for fans that evening beginning at 6:45 p.m. behind section 14. Selected by the Patriots in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of LSU, Ridley ran for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, helping New England advance to the AFC Championship Game for a second-straight season.
On Sunday, the Boston Bruins Alumni Team, featuring legends Ray Bourque, Terry O'Reilly, Rick Middleton, and Reggie Lemelin, will play at The Nest prior to the Falcons' home regular-season finale versus the Connecticut Whale. The exhibition game is free-of-charge to fans with a ticket to that day's Falcons game. The appearance by the Boston Bruins Alumni Team is presented by VizConnect, while the Falcons' game that afternoon is sponsored by The MRI Centers of New England.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MARCH MERCHANDISE SPECIALS
The Falcons Nest Pro Shop is undergoing some spring cleaning, and now is your chance to take advantage of merchandise specials on team apparel, souvenirs, and more! Items marked down include Reebok Center Ice Jackets, youth Reebok replica alternate jerseys, and adult beanies.
Fans can purchase their favorite team gear and apparel at the Falcons Nest Pro Shop, located inside the team office at 45 Falcons Way, during normal business hours or online by clicking here.
The Tower Square location of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop is also 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.
The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.
FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TOWER SQUARE STORE HOURS
Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LOCK IN YOUR SEAT FOR 2013-2014
Falcons fans are invited to reserve their ticket packages for the 2013-2014 season. Fans can to stop by "Ticket Headquarters" behind section 31 at The Nest during any Springfield home game to lock in their spot for the Falcons' 20th AHL season.
Adult season ticket prices remain the same for 2013-2014, giving fans the opportunity to watch the Falcons compete in all 38 home contests at the MassMutual Center for only $13/game. Season ticket packages in 2013-2014 will come with a no-waste guarantee, giving fans the opportunity to exchange their unused tickets for future home games. Fans can also take advantage of 22 and 10-game ticket packages next season.
The Falcons will also continue to offer flex packages for fans who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each contest. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20, and 12-ticket plans.
Youth ticket packages and flex plans are also available in 2013-2014 for children ages 14 and under.
A $50 non-refundable deposit per seat is required.
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.