The Falcons returned to action Friday night in Providence, RI dropping a 4-1 decision to the Providence Bruins. Coming into the contest, the Bruins were on a modest 4-0-1 streak, pulling even with Springfield in the battle for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
A large part of the first period was played in the neutral zone. There were not many scoring opportunities, despite a 9-8 shots on goal advantage for the Baby B's. In the early stages, while the clubs were getting a feel for the ice surface, Josh Hennessy added to his team lead for Providence, netting his 14th goal of the season. It was the only score of the period, staking the Bruins to a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins extended their lead in the second period. The play took a significant physical turn on both sides. For the most part, clean, hard-hitting action. Providence took a two goal lead when Jamie Tardif tapped in a loose puck just three minutes into the period. Paul Dainton, starting his fourth consecutive game for the Falcons made a save at the right side of his net. The puck dribbled to the left side, where Tardif was able to extend and tap it just over the goal line.
Alexandre Giroux fed a pass through the neutral zone four minutes later, to captain Dane Byers. Byers had broken free over the B's blue line and Giroux's feed sent Byers in on a breakaway from about 50 feet. Byers didn't hesitate and fired on past Falcons nemesis, Anton Khudobin in the Bruins cage, making the score 2-1.
The physical play boiled over at 9:50 of the period when Kirk MacDonald manhandled Teddy Ruth in front of the Falcons cage after a play stoppage. Neither of the local linesmen seemed to be in much of a rush to quell the rage, as MacDonald threw down the mitts, while simultaneously pulling Ruth's sweater over his head. Ruth lost his balance, affording the Bruins winger ample opportunity to club Ruth in the back of the head. For his effort, MacDonald received five for fighting and ten more on the misconduct. Ruth was given five for fighting, although I don't honestly think he even threw one single punch in the fracas.
The Falcons coughed up the disc in the neutral zone, sending the Bruins in on a 3 on 1 break with about a minute and a half remaining in the period. Captain Trent Whitfield raced down the right side and after glancing toward his mates, took a blast from the top of the faceoff circle, cleanly beating Dainton to extend the Providence lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes. The B's took a two period lead in shots on goal, 19-17.
Providence continued to apply the pressure in the first half of the final period. Lane MacDermid picked up his fourth goal of the season at the 11:30 mark opening up a three goal gap. That was pretty much the end of the night for the Falcons. The Birds had a couple of opportunities after that, but nothing would materialize and the game ended up 4-1 in favor of the Bruins.
The Falcons ended up their five game roadie at 3-2 and will return home Saturday night at 7PM when they host the Norfolk Admirals.