On the Farm: Falcons Week Four

A two week road trip in the American Hockey League differs significantly from long road trips at the major league level. While the Falcons played four consecutive road games, the reality is that the team was home here in the Pioneer Valley during that stretch, bussing out on game days.

Thanks to a change in travel company sponsorship this season, the Falcons were outfitted with a brand new ride. While the new bus is outfitted with all the bells and whistles, ultimately, it's still a bus. And while it's a far cry from the old iron lung in Slapshot, it's still a bus what will see thousands of miles by season's end.

Having already been to the likes of Bridgeport, CT, Providence, RI and Glens Falls, NY, the schedule's first repeat trip came Friday night when the Birds returned to Providence to clash with the Baby B's.

Last year's Providence club took the AHL's overall number one spot during the regular season, with 105 points, the only club in the circuit to eclipse the century mark.

Falcons Game 6 - Friday October 25 at Providence Bruins
Unlike the previous Friday when the Falcons struck quickly for two goals in a first period otherwise dominated by the Bruins, the two teams skated off tied at zero after one period of play.

Providence scored first at 4:29 of the second period when Nick Johnson redirected a Zach Trotman slapshot past Jeremy Smith. Smith was screened on the play and never saw the puck until it was past him.

Sean Collins netted his first goal of the campaign when he collected his own rebound. Assists went to Jake Hansen and Patrick McNeill. Again for the second week in a row, the goal was reviewed by the referee, who deemed that Collins did not kick the puck in and the goal stood.

Two minutes later, Frederic St. Denis picked up his first goal in a Falcons sweater when he connected on the power play to give the Birds a 2-1 lead. St. Denis' blast from the top of the faceoff circle drew assists from Collins and Darryl Boyce.

The only fisticuffs of the night took place late in the middle stanza when longtime Providence enforcer, Bobby Robins pretty much had his way with Jean-Francois Jacques. Both men drew seven minutes for their efforts - five for fighting and an extra deuce for unsportsmanlike conduct.

While the defense settled in and Smith looked strong in the Falcons cage, this was starting to look like a 2-1 Falcons win. However a flurry of late goals changed all that.

Justin Florek knotted the game at two when he slid one under Smith at 15:56. Just a minute and a half later, Collins gave the Birds the lead once again on assists from St. Denis and Hansen. The scoring outburst finished one minute after Collins' marker when Johnson collected his second of the night, tying the game and sending it to OT.

After a quiet five minute session, the clubs went to the shootout, where David Warsofsky scored in the sixth round, sending the crowd of 8737 home happy, handing the Falcons their first loss of the season.

Friday's Three Stars:
1 - Nick Johnson (PRO)
2 - Sean Collins
3 - Bobby Robins (PRO)

Falcons Game 7 - Saturday October 26 vs. Worcester Sharks
Saturday's contest with the Sharks was just one of those games where the effort was there, but the results were not.

The Daniil Tarasov show started at 5:44 of the first period when he gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a power play goal.

Jake Hansen lit the lamp with an unassisted shorty early in the middle frame. Hansen broke down the wing, captured the puck and rolled it over Shark netminder Harri Sateri, squaring the game at one apiece.

Following the equalizer, the game became physical with Dalton Smith engaged in two bouts within 10 minutes. First, squaring off with Curt Gogol, then with fists-of-steel Matt Pelech. As an aside, on the Sharks promotional calendar, they will be having a Jimmy Bonneau Bobble-fist night on December 7th. Happy Holidays!

During and after the physicality, the Sharks seized the momentum and Tarasov collected goals two and three on the night to close out the scoring, giving the visitors the 3-1 win.

Saturday's Three Stars:
1 - Daniil Tarasov (WOR)
2 - Brodie Reid (WOR)
3 - Jake Hansen

Transaction this week:
Oct. 26: Michael Chaput (C) recalled by Columbus

The week ahead:
The Birds have a busy week ahead. Wednesday night, they return to Glens Falls, NY to take on the Adirondack Phantoms. Springfield closes out Week 5, with home games Friday and Saturday night, both with the Hartford Wolfpack. Faceoff is set for 7PM for all three games.

Finally, if you recall last February, a Sunday matinee was postponed when Wade MacLeod fell to the ice with seizures after being popped along the boards. There's a good story on the Toronto Marlies website about the rebound of MacLeod. Check it out!

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