The week on ice started on Friday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. I've said it many times in the last few weeks, Bridgeport is the hottest team in the AHL, winning 16 of 18 since January 1st. The last meeting between the teams, the Falcons were on the short end of an 8-1 blowout in Bridgeport. That game bore no resemblance to this one, which was a tight checking affair. The game ended 1-1 after 65 minutes and was finally pulled out by the Falcons in a shootout.
Saturday night, the Connecticut Whale paid their final regular season visit to The Nest. Another team that has, for the most part, had their way with Springfield this season, the Whale fell victim to another defensive gem by the Birds and the first AHL shutout for goalie Paul Dainton, as the Falcons took a 2-0 verdict from Connecticut.
Springfield had big mo on their side, heading up to Portland, Maine for a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Pirates. The Pirates, like the Falcons, have shown flashes of brilliance this season, so this game could have gone either way. The Atkinson-less offense found a groove though, and carved out a dandy 6-2 win over Portland to finish the week 3-0-0. Stats and more after the jump:
This morning the standings look like this:
AHL NORTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS (as of 2/28/12):
1. Norfolk Admirals (TB) 75 points
2. St. John's IceCaps (WPG) 73
3. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI) 66
4. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT) 71
5. Hershey Bears (WSH) 67
6. Connecticut Whale (NYR) 66
7. Manchester Monarchs (LAK) 61
8. Albany Devils (NJD) 60
9. Worcester Sharks (SJ) 58
10. Springfield Falcons (CBJ) 58
11. Providence Bruins (BOS) 58
12. Portland Pirates (PHX) 56
13. Adirondack Phantoms (PHI) 55
14. Syracuse Crunch (ANA) 52
15. Binghamton Senators (OTT) 48
Heading into March, the Falcons have 20 games remaining in the regular season. Seven of those will be played at home, with thirteen on the road. Throughout the first half of the season, the Falcons were a better road team than a home team. February saw the Birds post s 5-2-1 record at The Nest in Springfield. The opposition the rest of the way stacks up like this: St. John's (3), Bridgeport (3), Norfolk (2), Wilkes-Barre (2), Providence (2), Adirondack (2), Hershey (1), Manchester (1), Syracuse (1), Portland (1), Connecticut (1), Worcester (1).
In addition to the heroics of Paul Dainton, Alexandre Giroux had a great month in February. Giroux played in his 800th pro game on Sunday in Portland, recording two goals, giving him 20 on the season. His 20th also tied Jim Bartlett for 8th place on the leagues all-time goal list with 360.
Martin St. Pierre, the Falcons leading scorer, recorded 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points in 12 games in February. Dane Byers has tallied 4 goals and 2 assists over his last 6 games, while Maksim Mayorov has 3 goals and 2 helpers in his last 2 games.
The Falcons have really tightened up on the penalty kill, going a perfect 25 for 25 over the last five games.
Falcons Individual Stats:
|Martin St. Pierre||C||54||10||41||51||+8||46|
|Cam Atkinson X||RW||50||29||16||45||+4||31|
|Tomas Kubalik X||RW||39||8||10||18||-9||30|
|Ryan Russell X||C||30||9||6||15||0||15|
|Brett Lebda X||D||26||1||9||10||0||18|
|Nick Holden X||D||25||3||6||9||-2||14|
|Patrick Cullity (with Springfield)||D||26||1||5||6||-1||32|
|Greg Amadio (with Springfield)||D||16||0||3||3||-3||57|
|Mike Thomas X||RW||25||1||3||4||-6||16|
|Ray Macias X||D||3||1||2||3||+3||0|
|John Moore X||D||5||1||1||2||-2||2|
|Manny Legace (with Springfield)||G||31||0||2||2||0||0|
|Oliver Gabriel X||LW||11||1||0||1||-5||0|
|Brett Motherwell X||D||3||0||1||1||-2||4|
|Chaz Johnson X||RW||1||0||0||0||0||4|
|Darcy Campbell X||D||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Chad Costello X||F||4||0||0||0||-1||2|
|Allen York X||G||5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Danny Taylor X||G||10||0||0||0||0||0|
Manny Legace was idle this week, due to injury. He remains ranked at #27 among AHL goalies with at least 1080 minutes played. Legace's GAA sits at 2.74, with a .906 save percentage.
Paul Dainton improved to 9-4-0, lowering his GAA to 2.68 with a .904 save percentage.
Transactions This Week:
Feb 23: Chris D'Alvise was recalled from Stockton of the ECHL.
Feb 24: Cam Atkinson was recalled by Columbus
Feb 25: David Savard was returned by Columbus
Feb 25: Mike Spillane (G) signed a PTO
The Falcons have a brutal three-in-three on tap this weekend. They'll be boarding the bus on Thursday morning for the 500 mile, nine and a half hour trip to Norfolk, VA. Once they get there, they will have their hands full with games Friday and Saturday night against the current leaders in the Eastern Conference.
For good measure, on the way back, the Birds will stop in Hershey, PA on Sunday to close out the weekend. The Bears always manage to play tough against Springfield. If you're in the Columbus area, this will be the closest the Falcons get to you for the rest of the regular season. According to Mapquest, the trip from Columbus to Hershey is six and a half hours, just over 380 miles. Just sayin'.
In any event, the games will be available on AHL Live, as well as on WHYN-AM 560 with the voice of the Falcons, Mike Kelly. I'll recap the games here on The Cannon.