Falcons Game 52: Big Effort Earns Two Points

The down again/up again season of the Springfield Falcons took a nice turn upward on Saturday night when the Falcons defeated the Providence Bruins 4-1 in front of 4566 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

With the game not even one minute old, Greg Amadio of the Falcons and Bobby Robins of the Bruins dropped the mitts and mixed it up in a beauty that set the tone for a no-nonsense kind of game. Both combatants tossed some serious haymakers in the brief encounter, with Amadio finally finishing it off with a nice cross body as he fell on top of the Bruins forward.

Fisticuffs out of the way, the game took a serious tone with both teams trading scoring opportunities. Manny Legace was in net for Springfield, while at the far end was Anton Khudobin for the Bruins.
It took awhile, but the B's finally scored the first goal of the game at 15:53 of the opening period. Kirk MacDonald converted for his second goal of the season after some really nifty passing.

After Friday night's third period downfall in Connecticut, the Birds were not going to settle for keeping this one close. Alexandre Giroux tied the game at 1-1, just over a minute later. Giroux and Cam Atkinson took off on a two-on-one over the Providence blueline. Giroux looked to pass to Cam, and never had the chance so he let one fly at Khudobin. Khudobin made the save, but kicked the juicy rebound right back to Giroux, who didn't miss, connecting for his 18th goal of the season. Assists went to Atkinson and Martin St. Pierre.

The teams battled through a scoreless second period. You might look at a period where there were no goals scored and think that it was a boring session. Not the case here. Both clubs had legitimate scoring chances, but both goalies were equal to the task, keeping the game knotted at one through two periods of play.

The top line for Springfield came out flying in the third period as Cam Atkinson scored his 29th goal of the season just 1:36 into the third, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead. Martin St. Pierre picked up his second helper of the night on the goal.

The game could have taken a turn for the worse at 7:59 of the period. St. Pierre was following the puck toward the B's net when Khudobin played the puck around the back of the cage. MSP simply skated by the Providence goalie. Khudobin went down as if he were tasered, to the obvious delight of referee "Blind" Geno Binda. Binda risked separating a shoulder, his arm went up so fast. This was an unimaginably bad call at an inopportune time.

Springfield survived the penalty kill and continued to apply the ressure. Then at 12:05, Dane Byers scored his 12th of the campaign on a bank shot from behind the goal line, giving the Falcons a 3-1 lead. Assisting on Byers' tally were Tomas Kubalik and Patrick Cullity.

Not to be outdone, Binda had time for one more shaky call against the Falcons when he whistled Giroux off for holding at 14:04. Again, this was a call that lent itself to some obvious embellishment by the Bruins. Providence, despite going 8-2-2 in their previous 12 games, ranks dead last in the AHL in PP efficiency. Their 0 for 3 tonight will supplement that.

Finally with Khudobin on the bench in favor of the extra skater, Martin St. Pierre let one fly from near the center stripe for his 10th goal of the season into the gaping Providence cage. Give the assist to Alexandre Giroux, and this one was all over.

Saturday's Three Stars:
1 - Manny Legace
2 - Cam Atkinson
3 - Greg Amadio

The Falcons close out this week's three-in-three on Sunday afternoon at The Nest when they host the Worcester Sharks at 3PM.



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