Falcons Weekly Recap: Week 21

This week we entered the "do or die" part of the season for the Springfield Falcons. The Birds manned up in a big way, taking six of a possible six points in the standings. The wins were that much sweeter, as Cam Atkinson was recalled by the Blue Jackets on Friday morning. The rookie has been a dominant force on offense for Springfield all season long. His recall could have adversely affected the team. It didn't and the Falcons flew high all weekend.

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:
Monday afternoon, the AHL announced that Falcons goalie Paul Dainton was the AHL Player of the Week. For the week, Dainton turned in a 0.97 GAA and a .965 save percentage. The former UMass captain has now recorded shutouts with both the Falcons and the Chicago Express this season. Dainton also became the first Falcons goalie since Scott Langkow to post three wins in three days back in 1998.

This morning the standings look like this:

AHL NORTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS (as of 2/28/12):

Team GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA
Bridgeport (NYI) 54 30 18 3 3 66 164 148
Connecticut (NYR) 56 28 18 5 5 66 167 155
Albany (NJD) 55 26 21 5 3 60 142 158
Springfield (CBJ) 56 27 25 2 2 58 162 169
Adirondack (PHI) 55 26 26 2 1 51 150 159

Eastern Conference standings as of February 28th look like this (top 8 qualify for playoffs):

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:

Player Pos. GP G A Pts. +/- PIM
Martin St. Pierre C 54 10 41 51 +8 46
Cam Atkinson X RW 50 29 16 45 +4 31
Alexandre Giroux LW 46 20 23 43 +5 52
Dane Byers LW 46 14 16 30 -6 100
Matt Calvert LW 43 11 12 23 -6 31
Nick Drazenovic C 25 6 16 22 -6 16
Brent Regner D 55 1 20 21 +7 16
Tomas Kubalik X RW 39 8 10 18 -9 30
Wade MacLeod LW 46 5 13 18 +4 19
Maksim Mayorov LW 32 8 9 17 -1 8
Andrew Joudrey C 53 8 9 17 -1 10
Ryan Russell X C 30 9 6 15 0 15
David Savard D 30 3 12 15 +1 38
Ryan Garlock C 53 4 9 13 -4 27
Brett Lebda X D 26 1 9 10 0 18
Cody Goloubef D 32 0 10 10 -6 33
Nick Holden X D 25 3 6 9 -2 14
Cody Bass C 17 3 5 8 0 37
Dalton Prout D 48 3 5 8 +1 46
Patrick Cullity (with Springfield) D 26 1 5 6 -1 32
Adam Mair C 26 2 4 6 -2 47
Teddy Ruth D 41 1 5 6 -17 35
Greg Amadio (with Springfield) D 16 0 3 3 -3 57
Aaron Bogosian LW 41 2 2 4 -3 50
Mike Thomas X RW 25 1 3 4 -6 16
Ray Macias X D 3 1 2 3 +3 0
Tim Spencer LW 22 2 0 2 +1 42
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
Chris D'Alvise C 3 0 0 0 0 0
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
Trevor Bruess RW 5 0 0 0 -4 5
Mark Dekanich G 5 0 0 0 0 0
Allen York X G 5 0 0 0 0 0
Paul Dainton G 15 0 0 0 0 4
Steven Delisle D 6 0 0 0 +2 8
Danny Taylor X G 10 0 0 0 0 0
Anton Blomqvist D 17 0 0 0 +2 17
"X" indicates no longer with the club.

GOALTENDING:
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.
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