While Dainton was the game's top star, the rest of the lineup really came together in this, realistically a must win for the boys. Dane Byers got the Falcons on the board at 12:15 of the first period with his 14th goal of the season. After Whale goalie Chad Johnson made an initial save off of Maksim Mayorov, the puck was loose and Byers kept on working until the puck found the back of the net. In addition to Mayorov, Brent Regner picked up an assist as the Birds took a 1-0 lead.
If you've been following along all season, you might figure that with a 2-0 lead, the final 35 minutes of play didn't have much happening. Not true at all, mes amis. More highlights after the jump:
Predictably, when the Whale fall behind, they turn the physicality up a notch and Saturday night was no exception. Of all people, Matt Calvert was there to answer the call to duty. When Brendan Bell was whistled for a hooking minor at 8:01, Whale bully Jared Nightingale apparently said the wrong thing to Calvert. I mean, he really must have said the wrong thing:
After that, the game continue to be a chippy affair. What might have been the save of the night in the whitewash was made by David Savard. Savvy, just back from a stint with the Blue Jackets, ended up guarding the Falcons net after Dainton came out to field a loose puck. He didn't get back to the net in time and Savard effortlessly turned away a Whale drive into what would otherwise would have been an empty net.
Later on, there was some controversy as it appeared the Whale may have scored. After a conference of the officials and goal judge, it was decided that the shot hit iron, but didn't go into the goal, leaving the score at 2-0 in favor of the Falcons.
All that led to a furious last minute drive by the Whale. With the clock stopped with 37 seconds to go here's what happened:
Greg Amadio (#5 for Springfield) may end up with some disciplinary action for breaking free at the penalty box area and returning to the fracas. Fortunately, Paully D didn't suffer any damage when the skirmish went behind his goal.
The Falcons have now recorded four points in two games this weekend. They'll be looking to add two more at 4PM this afternoon in Portland, ME when they take on the Pirates. The resurgent Birds are just three points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 21 games remaining on the schedule.