Nick Drazenovic pulled the Falcons even 1:14 later when he picked up his seventh goal of the campaign and his first since January 22nd. Matt Calvert found Greg Amadio open at the point. Amadio fired a blueline blast and Drazenovic retrieved the loose puck in the corner and took a shot from just in front of the goal line to the left of the Pirates cage. The shot handcuffed Mannino, tying the score at 1-1.
Two late Springfield penalties, Matt Calvert for slashing at 15:38 and Brent Regner at 18:02 for hooking brought the curtain down on the middle stanza. Regner's was one of those that you would call a "good" penalty, as it really was his only play on a Portland forward who had cut in on Clemente in a scoring bid.
One of those stats that is just inconceivable is that the Falcons coming into this game lit up the Pirates for 7 of their 12 shorthanded goals on the season. Adam Mair increased that to 8 of 13 when he cleanly beat Mannino, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead.
Dalton Prout fired a laser from the blueline about two minutes later, finding the back of the net and giving the Falcons a 3-1 lead. Prout accepted a nice pass from Martin St. Pierre on the play. The assist by MSP was his 47th of the season, good for third in the AHL.
Snakebit, or struck by lightning, your choice, the Falcons picked up yet another shorty on the beleaguered Pirates when Matt Calvert took the biscuit in deep while Tomas Kubalik was serving two for unsportsmanlike conduct. Calvert hit the brakes at the top of the goal crease and utterly and completely de-jocked Mannino for his 14th of the season extending the Falcons lead to 4-1.
After a skirmish between Adam Mair and Mark Louis of the Pirates, the Birds went on a power play. Louis took the extra minor for being the instigator and Tomas Kubalik made them pay for it when he notched his 11th of the season, giving the Falcons a commanding 5-1 lead. Assisting on the PPG were Alexandre Giroux and Martin St. Pierre.
This was a huge character win for the Falcons when they needed it most. Well, until Saturday anyway when they head into the XL Center in Hartford to take on the Connecticut Whale. The Whale supplanted the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for first place in the Northeast Division with a big 3-2 win over Bridgeport on Friday night in Hartford.
1. Matt Calvert
2. Nick Drazenovic
3. Mike Clemente