Four players (Will Weber, Daniel New, Jake Hansen and Trent Vogelhuber) made their pro debuts Friday night when the Falcons topped the Adirondack Phantoms 4-2 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. With the win, the Falcons effectively played spoiler, crushing the Phantoms slim chances at making the Calder Cup playoffs.
Despite all the fresh faces in the lineup, Captain Dane Byers got the Falcons on the board at 16:46 of the first period. Byers, alone in the high slot, beat Michael Leighton cleanly for his 16th of the season. Nick Drazenovic and Brent Regner were credited with the helpers. The goal stood until late in the second stanza when the captain of the Phantoms, Ben Holmstrom, returned the favor on the power play, tying the game 1-1.
That set the stage for a really well played third period by Springfield. Daniel New picked up his first pro point when he passed along the blueline to David Savard, who unleashed a bomb past Leighton on the power play at 3:34, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead. Nick Drazenovic picked up the other assist on Savard's fourth goal.
Wade MacLeod continued his torrid spring when he collected his ninth goal of the season as 12:33, also on the power play. Dane Byers fed Savard, who again let one fly towards the Phantoms cage. MacLeod has really become a presence around the net, and this was no exception as he tipped the puck past Leighton, extending the lead to 3-1.
The Phantoms, with their playoff backs up to the wall, didn't go quietly. Mike Testwuide came back just over a minute later, drawing the visitors to within one. The Falcons remained tough though, and after the Phantoms pulled Leighton, MacLeod found the empty net for his second of the night, icing the 4-2 win for the Falcons.
1 - Wade MacLeod
2 - Dane Byers
3 - Nick Drazenovic
The Falcons wrap up their season tonight at 7PM when they host the St. John's IceCaps. It's "Cam Atkinson Night", with lots of #13 swag available for bid/purchase. It's being reported that Atkinson will be in the lineup tonight. He still leads the Falcons with 29 goals, and this could be his chance to hit 30 goals with the Birds. Also, Manny Legace is expected to get the starting nod as the Falcons look to have their best won-loss record since the 1997-98 campaign.