The most notable change for the Falcons was the first start of the season for newly signed Danny Taylor. Taylor was signed to a PTO on Saturday after Allen York suffered a shoulder injury on Friday night in Wilkes-Barre, PA. According to local sources, York will undergo further testing on Monday.
Sunday also marked three games in as many days for the Monarchs. Manchester came into the game with a 3-1-0 record. Friday night they took it to the Providence Bruins 7-1 in Rhode Island. On Saturday, another road game for the Monarchs saw them go to Portland, ME and take the Pirates by a 5-1 margin.
An early scrap took place between Anton Blomqvist and Richard Clune. Clune showed plenty of testicular fortitude back on Opening Night last Friday, and his eagerness to drop the mitts continued today. Blomqvist did not fare well at all in this bout. Clune hit the trifecta on this one: minor, major and misconduct.
10 16 fights (via SpfdFalconsAHL)
The Falcons were guilty of some careless penalties in the middle of the first period and, like last night, both resulted in power play goals.
Later in the frame, Dane Byers answered with his third goal of the season, cleanly beating Monarchs' netminder Jeff Zatkoff. This was a power play goal for the Falcons, assisted by Cody Goloubef and Nick Drazenovic.
Just 38 seconds later, Martin St. Pierre scored his second of the young season on a nice bang-bang play, knotting the score at two just prior to the close of the opening period.
The second period saw the Falcons return to the form they showed in their previous two road games. Anton Blomqvist was whistled for a hook at the 2:48 mark. With the successful PK, the Falcons overall attack gained momentum and they really took over.
Not to be outdone, maybe with a little of Anton Khudobin's magic still in "The Nest", Danny Taylor was spot on in the stanza. Taylor, like Khudobin last night, flashed some serious leather in thwarting all 12 shots the Monarchs threw at him.
While Blomqvist was serving his minor for holding, Ryan Russell took a perfect feed from Ryan Garlock, and buried the shorty, giving the Falcons their first lead of the afternoon, 3-2. It was Russell's second goal of the season for Springfield.
10 16 11 goals (via SpfdFalconsAHL)
Cody Goloubef was called for his second minor of the game, this one a cross-check at 11:58. Once again, the penalty kill and Taylor were superb in stifling the Monarchs attack.
At the 16:36 mark, Dalton Prout unloaded from the point, and thanks to a perfect screen by Dane Byers, Prout tallied his very first pro goal, giving the Falcons a 4-2 lead. Prout is now the third Falcon to score his first pro goal this season. The others were Oliver Gabriel and Mike Thomas.
After two periods, the Monarchs held a 23-19 shots on goal advantage over Springfield.
The Falcons came out for the third period on their heels, and the Monarchs pushed the home team as much as they could. Finally, at 7:36, Andrei Loktionov notched his second goal of the game to pull Manchester within one, at 4-3.
The Falcons then re-energized and in a strange play, after two Monarchs fell near the blue line, Ryan Russell scooped up the loose puck and went in alone on a helpless Jeff Zatkoff for the insurance marker.
The Monarchs pulled Zatkoff with over two minutes remaining. But after Jake Muzzin was called for tripping at 18:49, Zatkoff returned to the cage, and the games was essentially over.
This was not a perfect game by the Falcons, but after last night's disappointing loss, it's something to build on. The Falcons next game is next Friday night at "The Nest" when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town.
Final shots on goal: Manchester 41, Springfield 27
Three Stars of the game:
1. Ryan Russell (SPR)
2. Andrei Loktionov (MAN)
3, Danny Taylor (SPR)