Falcons Game 19: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

The Springfield Falcons returned home for their first game on home ice since November 16th, dropping a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Connecticut Whale.

Much like Friday night's game at Adirondack, the Falcons were in control most of the way tonight.

Danny Taylor continues to struggle in the Falcons goal, and was instrumental in the Whale victory.

Taylor came on in relief of Manny Legace on Friday night, surrendering one goal in a relatively benign third period. Apparently, this was enough to earn him the start tonight against Connecticut.

The Falcons came out strong in the first period, carrying the play in the Whale offensive zone. Shots on goal favored Springfield by a 9 to 4 margin.

The only goal of the opening stanza was a 100% beauty by Cam Atkinson. Atkinson, wearing his familiar number 13 tonight after an "equipment malfunction" caused him to wear #38 in his road blue last night.

Atkinson penetrated the Whale zone. Faced with the unlikely possibility of splitting the two rugged Connecticut defenders, Atkinson stopped, did a larger scale reverse spin-o-rama and fired a 35 foot wrist laser that cleanly beat Whale netminder Chad Johnson.

The Whale appeared to be suffering from the carryover effect of a 6-2 pasting, laid on them Friday night by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Midway through the second, Nick Drazenovic opened the Falcons lead to 2-0, when he finished off a nice play authored by Atkinson and Tomas Kubalik on the power play.

Not as clear cut as the first period, the Falcons continued to carry the play in the second. Late in the period, Pavel Valentenko rifled one off the post that ricocheted in, putting the Whale on the board.

Although it didn't seem it at the time, this goal was certainly a turning point in the game, as the Whale carried the play from that point forward.

The Falcons maintained their edge in shots, outshooting the Whale in the middle stanza 13-8, and a lopsided two period total of 22-12.

Of the 12 shots, the Whale didn't really have a lot of quality chances, but their ability to crowd and screen Taylor gave them some momentum.

The third period was painful.

The Falcons couldn't mount any sustained offense, and although Connecticut still wasn't garnering any great scoring chances of their own, observing the game, I could see this one starting to slip away.

At 5:09 of the third period, Andreas Thuresson lobbed one toward the Falcons cage from deep in the zone. Part knuckleball, part mystery, Taylor wasn't hugging the post and the puck eluded him as the biscuit slithered past his bent left knee.

With the game tied at a deuce, the Falcons were stymied time in and time out, not just by the Whale, but also by the inconsistent officiating of referee Chris Cozzan. I could easily turn this into a rant on the official, and it probably deserves it. I'll leave this by saying Cozzan was the only referee tonight, but called the game as if there was a second zebra on the ice to help him out. Rant over.

As the clock wound down under one minute, the Falcons collapsed into their own zone, and with 21.6 seconds left on the clock, Thuresson scored his second goal of the period, sticking the fork in the Falcons, taking a 3-2 regulation time win over the Falcons.

This one has to hurt. It will be very interesting to this observer just how the Falcons come out for tomorrow afternoon's game against the Albany Devils. Faceoff time is 3PM

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