Goaltending, which had not come into question all season, suddenly had issues. The defense, undermanned to start with went into Friday night's game with two newcomers and PTO Patrick Cullity playing his 9th game in the lineup. The offense, featuring some incredible talent, found it a challenge to overcome early deficits.
In other words, the week sucked. The Falcons dropped all three of their games in regulation time. Three losses that at this point of the season, couldn't have come at a worse time.
If there was a highlight, or even a straw to grasp onto, I'd mention it here. In the absence thereof, moving right along...
This week, the standings look like this:
AHL NORTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS (as of 1/23/12):
Interestingly, the Northeast Division leading Connecticut Whale continue to falter. The Whale have gone 0-5-2-2 in their last 9 games, affording the rest of the division the opportunity to tighten up the race. The Falcons now trail Connecticut by seven points. The other three clubs in the division (Adirondack, Bridgeport and Albany) all check in with 44 points, in what has become quite a dogfight for the #1 spot.
From the "This Could Only Happen to the Falcons" department: the eighth playoff qualifier currently are the Portland Pirates who have 47 points. In other words, it looks like it'll be easier for the Falcons to win their division to make the postseason than it will be for them to eke out the last playoff spot in the conference.
The intensity of play this weekend was akin to setting your cruise control to let you go about 45MPH on the Autobahn. One of the few bright spots was the predictable hustle of Matt Calvert. Just a note to you Matt, this slide coincides with your number change, you might want to reconsider walking away from the single digit on your sweater.
Troublesome to the point of confusion was the goaltending this week. Manny Legace started on Friday night in Portland and might have allowed a bus to drive through his wickets if it had the opportunity. Out goes Manny and in comes Mark Dekanich who was perfect in relief. Coach Rob Riley then gives Dex the starting nod for Saturday's home tilt with the Albany Devils. Dex goes Steve Mason in the opening stanza and it's four-nil before the hot dogs are even warm. Role reversal time and back comes Manny who shuts the door on the little Devils. Then, off to Providence on Sunday and I can only imagine that Riley was hoping Anton Khudobin would accidentally walk into the Falcons locker room, suit up and hit the ice in Union Blue. Not meant to be, and the team for the most part left Legace unprotected in the opening period and the boys simply couldn't dig themselves out of another hole although they really stepped on the gas in the third period. Something to build on for Wednesday night in Worcester perhaps?
Falcons Individual Stats:
|Martin St. Pierre||C||39||8||29||37||+2||36|
|Ryan Russell X||C||30||9||6||15||0||15|
|Tomas Kubalik X||RW||24||7||4||11||-4||20|
|Brett Lebda X||D||26||1||9||10||0||18|
|Nick Holden X||D||25||3||6||9||-2||14|
|Mike Thomas X||RW||25||1||3||4||-6||16|
|Ray Macias X||D||3||1||2||3||+3||0|
|Greg Amadio (with Springfield)||D||3||0||0||0||-4||7|
|John Moore X||D||5||1||1||2||-2||2|
|Patrick Cullity (with Springfield)||D||11||0||1||1||+1||8|
|Manny Legace (with Springfield)||G||25||0||2||2||0||0|
|Oliver Gabriel X||LW||11||1||0||1||-5||0|
|Chaz Johnson X||RW||1||0||0||0||0||4|
|Darcy Campbell X||D||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Paul Dainton X||G||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Costello X||F||4||0||0||0||-1||2|
|Allen York X||G||5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Danny Taylor X||G||10||0||0||0||0||0|
Manny Legace checks in at 18th best goalie in the AHL. Legace's goals against average is 2.55, with a .910 save percentage.
Mark Dekanich in 5 games on his rehab assignment has a GAA of 4.00 and a save percentage of .867.
Transactions This Week:
Jan 16: Brett Lebda released from PTO
Jan 19: Mike Thomas (RW) traded to Grand Rapids
Jan 19: Greg Amadio (D) received from Grand Rapids
Jan 19: Brett Motherwell (D) signed PTO
Jan 20: Dane Byers returned from Columbus
Jan 20: Steven Delisle returned to Chicago (ECHL)
Sunday's game in Providence was the first of a five game road trip for Springfield. Up next are the Worcester Sharks on Wednesday night at the DCU Center in Worcester. Friday, the Birds return to Portland for their 4th meeting in 14 days with the Pirates. The week concludes Saturday in Hartford for a contest with the Whale.
All-Star weekend starts for Cam Atkinson on Sunday night in Atlantic City, when he takes part in the skills competition. The All-Star Classic will be held on Monday and will be available on many regional sports networks throughout the US. Check your local listings.