09/30/2013 12:54 PM
The Springfield Falcons concluded its preseason schedule this past weekend, defeating the Hartford Wolf Pack twice – 7-0 Friday and 4-3 Sunday – to finish the exhibition with an unbeaten record. The team enters the 2013-14 season defending its first division championship in ten years. With the home opener quickly approaching, the Falcons are setting high expectations for a team that returns a number of key players from last season’s Northeast Division-champion club.
“We’ve got a lot of returning faces which is good,” Falcons Head Coach Brad Larsen said. “Obviously the goal is to get in the playoffs. You want to give yourself a chance.”
The Falcons open the 2013-14 season at home versus the Manchester Monarchs Saturday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a free cowbell, Pat Patriot will make an appearance, and the team will hold a special banner-raising presentation before the game to honor the club’s 2012-13 Northeast Division championship. The Falcons will also have new additions to the merchandise stand located outside of section 27, including apparel and novelty items featuring the new 20th anniversary logo.
Single-game tickets throughout the 2013-14 season can be purchased at the MassMutual Center box office from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to game time on Saturday home dates, and four hours prior to any Sunday home contests. Fans can also purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com. For information about discounted group packages, call a Falcons’ sales representative at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
Click here for the Falcons’ 2013-14 regular-season schedule.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Springfield 7, Hartford 0
Friday, September 27
The Falcons opened the preseason with a 7-0 rout of the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night at the MassMutual Center. Rookie winger Alex Aleardi chipped in four goals, becoming only the fourth player in Falcons history to accomplish the feat (Daniel Briere in 2000-01, Grant Potulny in 2007-08, Chad Wiseman in 2009-10). Aleardi – a native of Farmington Hills, Michigan – played three games for Springfield at the end of the 2012-13 season, after splitting the season between the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires.
Second-year forward Jake Hansen added two goals Friday night. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound right winger beat Hartford netminder Cam Talbot at the midway point of the second period and notched his second score at 6:05 of the final frame.
Springfield goaltenders Mike Clemente and Linus Lundin combined to shut out the Wolf Pack Friday night. Clemente – who started the game and earned the victory - stopped all 11 shots he faced. Lundin, in his first professional action, made six saves in the final 30:10 of the game.
Springfield 4, Hartford 3
Sunday, September 29
International Skating Center of Connecticut (Simsbury)
The Falcons rounded out the exhibition series with a 4-3 victory over the Wolf Pack behind Sean Collins’ game-winner with 4:17 remaining in regulation. Collins had a promising rookie season a year ago, totaling 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 64 games with Springfield. The clinching score was the first for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, who spent the majority of training camp with the Falcons’ NHL affiliate, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After his offensive explosion Friday night, Alex Aleardi kept the hot streak going Sunday, adding two more scores in the preseason finale. Aleardi notched a power-play goal to tie the game, 1-1, at 16:06 of the first period and scored another at 9:38 of the second period to give Springfield a 2-1 edge.
Jake Hansen scored his third goal of the preseason at 15:24 mark of the middle frame to increase the Springfield lead to 3-1.
The Springfield goaltenders split the duties evenly once again Sunday, except Linus Lundin made his first professional start. Mike Clemente earned the victory, making seven saves on nine shots faced between the posts.
Saturday, October 5 – Springfield vs. Manchester, MassMutual Center, 7:00 p.m.
The Falcons open the regular season versus the Manchester Monarchs, the team they beat in the opening round of the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs.
ROSTER TAKING SHAPE
The Columbus Blue Jackets - the Falcons’ NHL affiliate – solidified their roster Saturday, assigning eight more players to Springfield. Those players included last season’s captain Ryan Craig. Craig returned a year ago for his second stint in Springfield, becoming only the second player in franchise history to serve as captain two separate and distinct times. Also assigned Saturday were forwards Michael Chaput and Jack Skille, defensemen Cody Goloubef, Ilari Melart and Will Weber, and goaltenders Mike McKenna and Jeremy Smith.
Mike McKenna and Jeremy Smith, both part of Columbus’ final preseason assignments to Springfield, will be the active goaltenders at the start of the 2013-14 regular season. Mike Clemente and Linus Lundin, despite their solid play in the exhibition games versus Hartford, were both released from the training camp roster. Clemente was sent to the Falcons’ ECHL affiliate, the Evansville IceMen, while Lundin is awaiting reassignment.
ALEARDI IN RARE COMPANY
Alex Aleardi accomplished a feat during Friday’s preseason opener versus Hartford that only three other players in Falcons history have ever done: he scored four goals in a single game. A rookie who played three games for Springfield at the end of the 2012-13 season, Aleardi joined the likes of Daniel Briere, Grant Potulny and Chad Wiseman as the only Falcons in the 19-year history of the franchise to score four times in a single game.
HANSEN’S HOT START
Jake Hansen found the back of the net three times in the Falcons’ two preseason games versus Hartford – twice Friday night and once Sunday. The White Bear Lake, Minnesota native finished the exhibition as the team’s second-leading scorer.
DEFEND THE NEST
The Falcons open the 2013-14 season with two games at home – Saturday, October 5 versus Manchester and Saturday October 12 versus Worcester. Springfield had a lot of success playing in front of the Falcons faithful in 2012-13, boasting a 24-10-1-3 record at the MassMutual Center a season ago.
Springfield forward Ryan Craig is currently tied for the franchise record for power-play goals (29). His next man-advantage tally will lift him above the record, originally set by Daniel Briere in 2000-01 and equaled by Jean-Guy Trudel in 2001-02. Craig has notched 29 power-play scores in 183 games with the Falcons, reaching the plateau in his 175th game Tuesday, April 2, 2013.
SPRINGFIELD FROM THE START
Spencer Machacek was acquired by the Falcons via trade from St. John’s late in the 2012-13 season. The 24-year-old winger re-signed with the organization and is looking forward to beginning the season in Springfield. “It’s good to be back,” Machacek said about returning to the Falcons. “We made some big strides last year, had a pretty good run, and we want to build off that.” Machacek recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 18 games after being traded to Springfield.
20TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
The Falcons enter the franchise’s 20th season on an incredible high note, after having its most successful regular season and getting back to the postseason in 2012-13. Throughout the 2013-14 season, the team will celebrate the history surrounding the club in a variety of ways. Information regarding the promotional schedule will be released shortly and will include a number of nights honoring the last 19 seasons.
COME TO A FALCONS GAME
For information about available ticket packages or single-game tickets, fans can contact a Falcons’ sale representative at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit the team website by clicking here. All the information is also available at Ticket Headquarters, located on the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 31 at all Falcons’ home games.
The Falcons offer a number of affordable ticket packages to allow fans to enjoy the family entertainment for a low price. In addition to season-ticket plans, the team also offers flex packages for those who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each game. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20 and 12-voucher plans, and the customer can use any number of those vouchers to any game, based on seat availability.
FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP
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 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday) or online by clicking here. The shop is stocked with brand new merchandise for the 2013-14 season, including limited-edition apparel and novelty items featuring the new 20th anniversary logo. The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.