In what has become a disturbing trend, the Springfield Falcons surrendered two first period goals to the Providence Bruins, then spent the rest of Sunday afternoon playing catchup at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Despite some late third period heroics, the Birds came up short, dropping their fourth consecutive game 4-3 in front of nearly 8000 fans.
Manny Legace drew the starting nod today, and like the first two games of the weekend, Springfield's starting netminder was ineffective in the opening period, allowing goals by Jamie Arniel (Scott's nephew) and Carter "Happy" Camper.
Anton Khudobin was between the pipes for the P-Bruins, and although not as Vezina-like as usual against the Falcons, he was solid enough including a ten bell stop with less than a minute to go. Cam Atkinson (held off the scoresheet today) was inside the left faceoff circle and with Khudobin at the far post, went to one knee to fire a laser at the open side of the cage. Khudobin, needing the save for his club, effortlessly glided across and in one fluid motion knocked the puck aside.
Providence opened the lead to 3-0 early in the second period when Jordan Caron registered his third goal of the season. Visually, the Falcons looked deflated and defeated at this point of the game.
Teddy Ruth moved in from the point and scored his first goal of the season at 11:57 of the second period. Patrick Cullity and Andrew Joudrey picked up assists on the goal. Less than three minutes later, Arniel picked up his fourth of the season to put the B's back on top by three.
Joudrey connected for his 7th at 9:14 of the third, helped by Wade MacLeod and David Savard. The goal re-energized the Birds, and really set up a furious second half of the final stanza. The highlight was Nick Drazenovic scoring his sixth goal, assisted by Dane Byers and Brent Regner at 17:29, closing the gap to 4-3.
With Legace on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, the Falcons threw everything and then some at Khudobin, right until the final buzzer. Especially maddening is the difficulty the Falcons are showing in playing a complete sixty minutes. Speculation as to why that has recently become an issue is easy. Much more difficult will be finding the solution. One can only hope that come season's end, the team isn't wondering about the two or four or six points by which they missed the postseason.