It's become apparent that as long as the names Curtis McElhinney and Martin Jones are pencilled in as starting goalies, these games will be low scoring affairs.
Early in the opening frame, Nick Drazenovic was outstanding with his forechecking of the Monarchs. His effort left Manchester bottled up in their zone, unable to move forward.
After the ensuing play stoppage, Cody Bass got into a chirpfest with Jones and a Manchester defender. The exchange escalated and after a firm stick tap, Bass was assessed a minor for slashing.
Nick Deslauriers scored his second goal of the series on that power play. His shot from the blue line passed through several bodies in front of C-Mac, who never saw it.
A quick succession of penalties gave the Birds a 4 on 3 power play. David Savard found some open ice above the left faceoff circle and delivered with his second goal of the series. Over the past couple of months, Savvy has really picked up his game both offensively and defensively. Drazenovic and Blake Parlett assisted on the tying goal.
Late in the period, Scott Sabourin (you may remember he had a little dustup with Oshawa teammate Boone Jenner on Sunday afternoon) lined up Cody Bass in the neutral zone. I thought this was a real cheap shot, as his elbow came up on the hit and appeared to target Bass' head.
Captain Ryan Craig seemed to think the same thing and immediately sought out the rookie and in short order, extracted an amount of revenge for Sabourin's wrongdoings.
C-Mac remained steady through the end of the period, turning away several Manchester point blank scoring opportunities.
Throughout the first half of the middle stanza, the story remained McElhinney and Jones. Both were sensational...again. A moment of tension came when Mac took a shot that appeared to be high on the chest. After the whistle, the Falcons trainer had to come out to check on Curtis. Everything appeared fine and after Falcons fans restarted their hearts, all was well.
Bass and Andrew Joudrey teamed up for a beauty two-on-one where in tight Bass dished to Joudrey who was stoned by Jones. A monster save for the Monarchs goaltender.
Late in the period, Sabourin (who is rapidly earning a reputation) held, hooked and cross-checked Michael Chaput. Chaput was at the top of the Manchester crease and was assessed a minor for goaltender interference. No, really. I'm not making this up.
The officiating in the first three games of this series has been horrible. However, it's been horrible both ways, so in a perverse way, it's consistent. After all, we're told that consistency is the key. Right?
The penalty (definitely unearned) to Chaput bears my wrath because it led to the game winning goal by David Meckler. Meckler worked in tight with Jordan Weal, and gave the Monarchs the 2-1 lead.
For the record, all three goals in this game came on the power play. Just sayin'.
Referees Geno Binda and Ryan Hersey put their whistles in their pockets and let the boys play in the third period. The only infraction was a minor to Manchester's David Kolomatis for hooking.
By doing so, there was a wide open period of terrific end to end hockey. Mac and Jones remained huge for their clubs, each turning in ten bell stops along the way.
Down the stretch, Ryan Johansen, Joudrey, Sean Collins and Dalton Prout all looked strong for the Falcons. With time running out, McElhinney robbed Hunter Bishop with two phenomenal saves. Springfield applied pressure right to the final buzzer, but on this night they fell just short.
Game Three's Three Stars (according to Manchester media):
1 - David Meckler
2 - Martin Jones
3 - Nick Deslauriers
Springfield leads the series two games to one. Game 4 is set for Saturday night at 7PM back at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.