2012. Mayan Calendar. End of days. Falcons take all six points on a three-in-three weekend. Go figure. Maybe the end is nearer than we really thought.
What I can say though, is that this was the single most exciting weekend of Falcons hockey this season. There have been some highs and some lows, but to me, this was the weekend where the Falcons simply showed up, lunch boxes in hand, worked their asses off and were rewarded with six points that were earned as a result of that hard work.
Sunday's capper was a 6-2 pasting of the Portland Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME. The Falcons got off to a nice start, dusting starting goalie Justin Pogge with two tallies on their first four shots.
The Falcons first goal went unassisted to Alexandre Giroux, who was playing in his 800th career pro game. Less than three minutes later, Maksim Mayorov cashed in with a shorty, assisted by Dalton Prout. This game had two refs ("Blind" Ryan Hersey and "Also Blind" Dave Lewis), which meant that there would be more special teams opportunities than in a regularly officiated game. Hersey and Lewis didn't disappoint, as they whistled the Falcons off five times in the opening stanza. For good measure, they sent Greg Amadio off again at the 19 second mark of the second period. Yes, that's six consecutive power plays for the Pirates. Argggh!
Oddly enough, with all the PP time, the Pirates did get on the board when Nick Ross chalked up his first marker of the season at 15:50. Odd because, the clubs were at even strength at the time of the goal. More after the jump:
The Falcons continued their assault in the second period when Giroux popped his 20th of the season on the Falcons first power play of the afternoon. Giroux was picked up by Martin St. Pierre and David Savard on the play. Portland proved resilient at this juncture, scoring less than 30 seconds later to make the score 3-2 in favor of Springfield.
Goals by Mayorov and Adam Mair closed out the second period with a 5-2 Falcons lead. Mayorov's goal was his eighth of the season, finishing off a picture perfect pass from Dane Byers. Brent Regner picked up the secondary assist. Adam Mair notched his second goal in three games this weekend, when he banked one from behind the goal line off of Pirate netminder Marc Cheverie, increasing the Falcons lead to three. Assisting on Mair's marker were Mayorov and Matt Calvert.
Somewhat similar to last night's game against Connecticut, play got a little ugly in the final stanza. Lots of cheap shots behind the play (how do 2 refs not see these?), including several knee-on-knee hits. First though, was Wade MacLeod's fifth goal of the season at 7:47. This was another well executed play, with MacLeod finishing it off textbook style after some nice passing courtesy of Dane Byers and Martin St. Pierre. That left the score 6-2, where it remained until the final buzzer.
The kneeing fouls started with an undetected hit by Mathieu Beaudoin on Alex Giroux. Giroux was felled and missed a couple of shifts. Roughly five minutes later, presumably not intentionally, Adam Mair delivered a knee-on-knee hit to Andy Miele of Portland. Ironically as the players came together after the whistle, Beaudoin was right in the middle of things. There was yet one more kneeing foul to come when Corey Syvret was called for kneeing with just over two minutes remaining.
Patrick Cullity appeared to have scored on the last power play of the game. After a conference of the officials, somehow they decided that the puck simply went off the crossbar, never having entered the cage. The AHL is looking into the use of replay next year, and given the confusion of so many officials with such regularity, this can only be seen as a good thing for the league.
The Falcons return to action next weekend for another three-in-three. This time, all three games are on the road: Friday and Saturday night in Norfolk, VA against the Admirals. The weekend concludes with a 5PM game next Sunday in Hershey, PA against the Bears.