You've heard the cliches many times: A good defense beats a good offense. Goaltending makes the difference. Tonight, both of those held true as Curtis McElhinney recorded his second shutout in just five games as the Springfield Falcons blanked the Providence Bruins 3 - 0 in front of 9,065 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI.
Nick Drazenovic capitalized on a Falcons 5 on 3 man advantage, burying his second marker of the season, giving the Falcons a 1 - 0 advantage. Helpers went to Captain Ryan Craig and David Savard.
Drazenovic's tally was the highlight of a period that had a little bit of everything. The Falcons, looking to find their road legs throughout the first 14 minutes of the period, gave the Baby B's the first four power plays of the game.
The tables turned and Providence took some undisciplined time in the box, leading to the Draz goal.
The squads combined for 28 minutes in penalties in the opening stanza. The highlight was Cody Bass getting physical with Bruins netminder Niklas Svedberg.
Ryan Russell, playing in his first game of the season, put the Birds on top by a count of 2 - 0 when he buried a laser of a wrister from the high slot. Ryan Johansen and Nick Holden set the play in motion for the returning Russell.
Curtis McElhinney came into this game sporting a 1.61 GAA and a terrific .946 save percentage. C-Mac turned away 10 shots in the first period. His game kicked up another notch in the second period, when he was oft tested and came up equal to the task.
Midway through the middle session, a really great hockey fight took place when Cody Bass went toe to toe with Lane MacDermid. Bass is the real deal and as strong as a bull (and no, I don't need my roomate to tell me that). Bass gave up some size to MacDermid, but held the advantage until the Bruin finally fell on top of Bass. A beauty!
WE WAS ROBBED...
Nick Holden fed Andrew Joudrey on a sweet odd man rush just past the 10 minute mark. Joudrey converted for the 3 - 0 lead. But wait! This one was called back, allegedly for a Springfield hand pass. But wait (again!). The whistle was actually a late whistle for a Bruins penalty. Then the officials couldn't decide where to have the faceoff. Honest.
C-Mac once again stood tall between the pipes for the Birds. Through two periods, Mac had chalked up 24 saves. While none were of the "10 Bell" variety, there were a mix of in close and medium range bombs that could have gotten through. Mac's concentration and game readiness in the early going has been a real treat for the Falcons faithful.
Cam Atkinson notched his second goal of the young season at 10:57 of the third period. Cam broke through the neutral zone with Matt Calvert (elevated to the spot previously occupied by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault). The give and go saw Calvert continue his strong play and he took the initial attempt from about 35 feet out. Providence goalie Svedberg kicked out a juicy rebound which Cam converted effortlessly, increasing the Falcons lead to three.
Somewhat quiet tonight were JAM and Tomas Kubalik (spelled correctly). Kubie was in tight on several opportunities, but the puck just didn't bounce his way. JAM, after a jarring first period hit, didn't have much to say the rest of the way.
Tonight's Three Stars:
1. Nick Drazenovic
2. Curtis McElhinney (33 saves)
3. Ryan Russell
The Falcons return to The Nest on Saturday night when they take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7PM. They conclude this, their first three-in-three of the season on Sunday afternoon when the Portland Pirates come to town for a 3PM game.