Falcons Game 73: Birds Tighten Playoff Gap

The Falcons did exactly what they needed to do on Saturday night in St. John's, Newfoundland when they beat the IceCaps 6-3. The Birds managed only 18 shots on goal, but this was one of those nights when 33% was just what the doctor ordered.

After surrendering the first goal of the game to Eric O'Dell of the IceCaps, Martin St. Pierre scored his 11th of the season on a light shot from the point. No speed whatsoever, but skillfully through a screen to tie the game at 1-1. The MSP tally was set up nicely by Nick Drazenovic and Dane Byers.

We didn't know it at the time, but the St. Pierre goal was the first of five consecutive Falcon markers. Andrew Joudrey added his 12th of the season after deflecting a point shot by Greg Amadio to give the Falcons the 2-1 lead. Add an assist to Drazenovic on this goal also. More after the jump:
An early second period power play saw Nathan Longpre pick the pocket of a St. John's defender and promptly went high glove on David Aebischer to extend the Birds lead to 3-1.

The fireworks weren't over just yet though as Longpre struck again for his 11th marker of the season. A nice play in front of Aebischer, which brought backup goalie Eddie Pasquale in for his first work since mid-March. Assists on this one went to Sean Collins and Ryan Garlock.

Pasquale surrendered his first of the night when Andrew Joudrey scored from near the left halfwall when he was set up by Nick Drazenovic and David Savard. Unbelievable as it sounds, the Falcons held a 5-1 lead after two periods, while being outshot 15-12.

With a four goal margin, it was up to the Falcons to hold onto the lead. Eric O'Dell's second of the night on the power play closed the gap to 5-2 at 7:25 of the third period.

Cody Goloubef found the back of the net for his first goal of the season at 11:03. Cody is one of the good guys on the club and after his mid-winter hand injury and surgery, he's had some challenges in rediscovering his game. The goal was a basic blueline snapshot that Pasquale simply missed. Even though the Birds had moved the puck in front of the IceCaps net, the goal was deemed unassisted. Go figure.

Eric O'Dell finished off his hatty at 12:56 with an unassisted tally. Not known as a goal scorer, O'Dell's goals tonight were his 7th, 8th and 9th of the season.

That was where the scoring finished, with a 6-3 Falcons victory. The game looked like so many from the season, in that the Falcons didn't control the pace of the game, nor were they territorially in charge. In the end, it didn't matter as they won handily 6-3. We can only hope there will be the same magic when the two teams collide again on Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre.

Saturday's Three Stars:
1 - Nick Drazenovic
2 - Eric O'Dell
3 - Andrew Joudrey

Elsewhere around the "A" on Saturday:
Providence 4 at Bridgeport 2
Adirondack 5 at Albany 3
Worcester 4 at Portland 5 SO
Syracuse 3 at Hershey 2 SO

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Norfolk Freakin' Admirals. Yup, number 25 in a row tonight. Tonight's victims: the Binghamton Senators. Final score: Norfolk 4, Bingo 1. Just amazing.

A quick look at the standings, as relates to Falcons playoff chances:
7. Syracuse 80 points
8. Manchester 77
9. Portland 77
10. Adirondack 76
11. Providence 75
12. Springfield 74
13. Albany 71
14. Worcester 70

The Falcons finish up their road schedule on Sunday afternoon in St. John's, with a 2:30PM faceoff. Springfield returns home for their last two home games of the regular season, next Friday (Adirondack) and Saturday (St. John's - Cam Atkinson Night).
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