The Falcons had to be happy to get back to work on Sunday afternoon after enduring a humilating night in Bridgeport, CT on Saturday. The Birds returned to The Nest for some home cooking with the Manchester Monarchs providing the opposition. Less than 24 hours after the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Sound Tigers, this one was all Falcons as they breezed to a 5-1 win.
A relatively quiet first period saw the Falcons take an early 1-0 lead. This bucked a recent trend where in four of the previous five games, the Falcons gave up the game's first goal inside the first 90 seconds. Wade MacLeod scored his fourth of the season, assisted by Greg Amadio and Aaron Bogosian at 1:48 of the opening period. Late in the period, Patrick Cullity took an unusual double minor; two for holding AND two for cross checking. With Cullity in the box, it appeared the Monarchs had tied the game. The goal was immediately waved off for goaltender interference, and the period ended 1-0 for the Falcons. Springfield outshot Manchester by a margin of 8-1.
The Falcons came out determined in the second period. In the defensive zone, Paul Dainton made a few tremendous saves to keep the Monarchs off the board. Meanwhile, Alexandre Giroux accepted a pass from Martin St. Pierre when he was streaking into the Monarchs zone. Approaching the Manchester cage, Giroux slowed down with a toe drag, enabling the Monarch defense to commit. After that commitment, Giroux threaded yet another perfect pass to a wide open Cam Atkinson, who made no mistake about burying the biscuit for his 27th goal of the season. Monarchs netminder Jeff Zatkoff had no chance against the Falcons top line on the goal.
Matt Calvert's brand of hustle paid a dividend at 12:48 of the middle stanza. Maksim Mayorov had worked the puck deep, in behind the Monarchs goal. Calvert dug the puck out, turned and from behind the goal line, reached around the right post before Zatkoff could get there, increasing the Falcons lead to 3-0. This was one of the Falcons better period in some time, highlighted by Dainton's great goaltending. The Monarchs built some momentum late in the period, outshooting the Falcons 14-8 in the period and closing the two period total to 16-15, in favor of Springfield.
Early in the third period, Wade MacLeod carried the puck behind the Manchester net. Reaching far in front of him he managed to get a sweet pass across the top of the crease, right onto the stick of the waiting Andrew Joudrey. Joudrey tapped in the easy one timer, building the lead to 4-0. Theo Ruth picked up the secondary assist for starting the whole play. A beauty!
Giroux extended the Falcon lead to 5-0 at 9:32 on a breakaway. Martin St. Pierre thwarted a pass inside the Falcons defensive zone. MSP turned and hit Giroux with a perfect tape-to-tape pass as Giroux broke across the red line. Giroux made no mistake at all as he zeroed in on Zatkoff, beating him cleanly high on the stick side. Giroux was hit from behind on the way in and followed the puck into the goal.
With 1:19 to go, Tomas Kubalik took a hooking minor. The only reason it's of note, is that it gave the Monarchs a power play and that was when they finally solved Paul Dainton. Robert Czarnick picked up the PP marker to break Dainton's shutout bid at 18:52 of the third period.
Sunday's Three Stars:
1. Paul Dainton
2. Cam Atkinson
3. Alexandre Giroux
This was a great effort by the Falcons after getting their backsides handed to them on Saturday. The Falcons return to action Friday at 7PM at the XL Center in Hartford when they take on the Connecticut Whale.