Four times in their last five games, the Springfield Falcons have surrendered the first goal of the game within the first minute and a half of the hockey game. The fourth time came Saturday night in Bridgeport as the Sound Tigers peppered a bewildered Manny Legace with 13 shots, scoring on three of them as they went on to crush the Falcons by an 8 - 1 score.
The Falcons came out looking to establish themselves early, trying to slow the Sound Tigers pace of the last five weeks. The Sound Tigers are the AHL's hottest team, going 11-1-1 in their last 13 games. However it didn't take long for Bridgeport to be rude hosts to their visitors. Only 55 seconds into the game, Matt Donovan moved in deep from his blueline post, converting for his sixth goal of the season. Micheal Haley and former Falcon, Trevor Frischmon closed out the frame with goals late in the period, staking Bridgeport to a 3-0 lead after the first period. Bridgeport outshot the Falcons 13-6, which was sadly indicative of the play.
The middle stanza unfortunately saw more of the same. Haley picked up his second of the night, extending the lead to 4-0 before Alexandre Giroux finished off a nice wraparound to get the Falcons on the board. Assisting on the Giroux tally were Cody Goloubef and Martin St. Pierre.
The comeback was short lived as Justin DiBenedetto picked up his 13th of the season on a power play at 14:09. Ty Wishart closed out the scoring at 15:43 making it 6-1 Bridgeport and left me wondering if it's too late to lobby for a "mercy rule".
Paul Dainton came out to start the third period in goal for Springfield. The way the Sound Tigers were playing, Turk Broda could have been between the pipes, and it likely would not have mattered. Dainton made a few nice stops before Wishart notched his second of the night, and Haley cashed in to finish his hat trick increasing the lead to 8-1.
Sorry gang, this one was bad from the git-go. The Falcons close out the three-in-three on Sunday afternoon, back at The Nest in Springfield when they host the Manchester Monarchs at 3PM.