The on-ice week started with the Birds on the road in Manchester, NH taking on the Monarchs. The depleted Falcons offense never got on track, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Monarchs. Saturday night the Falcons returned to the MassMutual Center in Springfield for the first time in two weeks, hosting the Syracuse Crunch. After holding leads of 4-1 and 5-2, the Falcons held on long enough to prevail in a 6-5 barnburner. Lots more after the jump:
Cody Bass was injured in practice on Monday and looks like he will need season-ending shoulder surgery. This is very disappointing as Cody has played well both here and in Springfield. He has tremendous character and does the right things both on and off the ice and his loss will be felt throughout the organization.True to his nature, Bass returned to the lineup three weeks later, only to suffer another injury, which kept him out until mid-February. Playing in 11 games since then, Bass recorded 3 goals and an assist in adding much needed stability to the Falcons lineup. Coach Rob Riley addressed Bass' contributions to the young Falcons lineup when he said this to Garry Brown:
"Cody prolonged his season by more than a month, with his career and his next contract on the line. He didn’t think about that. All he thought about was being there for his team," Riley said.
"Is he our most valuable player? What he brought to this team certainly would put him in there for consideration. He does everything a player can possibly do. He’s a good 5-on-5 player. He’s excellent on faceoffs. He kills penalties, blocks shots and he scored on a penalty shot to beat Syracuse (last Saturday night)."
Even though on the calendar, we're into Week 24 of the season, there has been a lot going on,so I'm including it here. Early in the week, a transaction was announced that sent Allen York back to Springfield. York then, backed up Curtis Sanford on Wednesday night in Edmonton. York's return to Springfield was necessitated by Paul Dainton flying out mid-week on family business. It was later tweeted by Aaron Bogosian that Dainton's father had undergone successful lung transplant surgery in Toronto.
With York being summoned back to the Jackets, the Falcons were looking at the upcoming three-in-three, with only a questionable Manny Legace to tend the twine. Enter Mike Clemente on an ATO. Clemente, from Brown University, had skated a few practices last week with the Providence Bruins (Brown is in Rhode Island, btw) when they were struggling through a goalie shortage of their own. If he sees ice time, Clemente will be the Falcons seventh netminder of the season. How far we've come from the training camp plan of Sanford and York here for the season!
Here are the Eastern Conference standings as we head into another wild weekend:
AHL EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS (as of 3/16/12):
|1.||Norfolk Admirals (TB)||64||43||18||1||2||89||230||165|
|2.||St. John's IceCaps (WPG)||61||38||16||5||2||83||208||172|
|3.||Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)||60||32||20||3||5||72||185||173|
|4.||Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)||63||36||20||2||5||79||201||192|
|5.||Hershey Bears (WSH)||61||31||20||4||6||72||200||181|
|6.||Connecticut Whale (NYR)||61||31||20||5||5||72||182||169|
|7.||Manchester Monarchs (LA)||63||31||29||0||3||65||166||181|
|8.||Albany Devils (NJD)||61||27||24||6||4||64||155||176|
|9.||Worcester Sharks (SJ)||60||26||23||4||7||63||157||164|
|10.||Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)||62||30||29||2||1||63||168||174|
|11.||Portland Pirates (PHX)||61||28||27||3||3||62||174||207|
|12.||Syracuse Crunch (ANA)||62||27||27||4||4||62||196||199|
|13.||Springfield Falcons (CBJ)||62||28||28||3||3||62||175||193|
|14.||Providence Bruins (BOS)||63||27||29||3||4||61||156||182|
|15.||Binghamton Senators (OTT)||62||24||34||2||2||52||164||198|
The Falcons' three opponents this weekend: Portland, Connecticut and Providence. The only home game is tonight against the Pirates. On paper, the games tonight and Sunday afternoon in Providence are winnable "musts". Saturday's game in Hartford becomes the wild card of the weekend. The Whale are 6-4 in their last ten games. In those ten, the Whale have dropped decisions to Portland, Providence and yes, Springfield.
Falcons Individual Stats:
|Martin St. Pierre||C||60||10||46||56||+4||50|
|Cam Atkinson X||RW||50||29||16||45||+4||31|
|Dane Byers X||LW||50||14||16||30||-11||102|
|Tomas Kubalik X||RW||45||10||12||22||-12||38|
|Nathan Longpre - season totals||F||45||9||10||19||+7||10|
|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 - season totals||D||37||1||6||7||-4||51|
|Greg Amadio - season totals||D||49||0||6||6||-11||185|
|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|
|Curtis McElhinney X||G||25||0||2||2||0||0|
|Manny Legace (with Springfield)||G||32||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|
|Mike Spillane X
|Darcy Campbell X||D||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Chris D'Alvise X||C||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Costello X||F||4||0||0||0||-1||2|
|Trevor Bruess X||RW||5||0||0||0||-4||5|
|Mark Dekanich X||G||5||0||0||0||0||0|
|Danny Taylor X||G||10||0||0||0||0||0|
In the words of Bruce Landon, the goaltending situation is a "mess".
With Paul Dainton potentially out for the weekend ahead, Manny Legace's condition will apparently prevent him from playing this weekend also. This will leave Allen York and Mike Clemente to handle the goaltending in potentially the biggest weekend of the season.
Transactions this week:
Mar. 3: Curtis McElhinney (G) assigned by Columbus
Mar. 6: Mike Spillane (G) released from PTO
Mar. 8: Maksim Mayorov (LW) recalled by Columbus
Mar. 9: Chris D'Alvise (C) recalled from Stockton (ECHL)
Mar. 10: Dane Byers (LW) recalled by Columbus
Mar. 10: Jake Morley (LW) signed to ATO
Mar. 11: Maksim Mayorov returned by Columbus
Mar. 13: Chris D'Alvise returned to Stockton
Mar. 14: Mike Clemente (G) signed to ATO
Mar. 14: Allen York (G) assigned by Columbus
The Falcons play just one game at The Nest this weekend. It's tonight when the Portland Pirates come to town for a 7:30 faceoff. A special promotion is "Everybody's Irish" night. Special guest is Benjarvus Green-Ellis of the New England Patriots, who will drop the puck in the ceremonial faceoff before the game.