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Today in the "A": Falcons Preview

The Adirondack Phantoms, top affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, make the first of two appearances in Springfield this season, tonight when they take on the Falcons.

If you're convinced that Blue Jackets Nation has fallen apart, and there's no exciting hockey left, the Falcons are providing just what you're looking for.

Entering the fifth weekend of the season, just one point separates the Phantoms and Falcons. The Phantoms currently are second in the Northeast Division with 13 points in 10 games played, while the Falcons have 12 points in 11 games.

Tonight's matchup is one of those that, if the competition remains this crisp all season, I would like to see more than just four times this season. However, this was one of those scheduling quirks where even though they are divisional rivals, the Phantoms and Falcons tangle only four times this season.

The Phantoms are led by Denis Hamel, who currently is tied for 11th in AHL scoring. Hamel, a 34 year old left wing, is a veteran of 192 NHL games. He also has logged considerable time in the "A", chalking up 323 goals in 786 AHL contests. He's 37th all time in points in the "A".

Former Falcon and Blue Jacket Tom Sestito will be on the ice tonight as a Phantom. Through 9 games this season, Tom has four goals and two assists for six points. As you'd expect, he has also logged 29 PIM to lead the Phantoms in that department.

Michael Leighton has been carrying the load as the Phantoms #1 goalie. In eight games, Leighton has gone 5-2-0 with a 2.38 GAA and a nice .920 save percentage.

The Falcons have had a busy week, even though this is their first on ice test since last Saturday's overtime thriller against St. John's.

In the Falcons weekly webisode, coach Rob Riley mentions that the players weren't exempt from the damage and loss of power caused by last Saturday's snowstorm.

It's been a particularly trying time for Nick Holden and Andrew Joudrey, as both are expectant fathers (as of Thursday morning, anyway!) and navigating through much of the western Massachusetts region remains difficult.

Danny Taylor was between the pipes for all three games last weekend, playing well in all three, as the Falcons are now on a three game winning streak.

While the Falcons went 3-0 last week, the Phantoms went 1-1-1 (shootout loss). All three games were on their home ice in Glens Falls, NY. They started the week with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Norfolk Admirals. The Connecticut Whale took a 4-2 decision on Friday night. On Saturday, the Hershey Bears lost to the Phantoms by a 2-1 count.

All indications point to this being an exciting game tonight in Springfield. Face off time is scheduled for 7:30PM. Tonight's game is sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts, with the first 1500 fans in attendance receiving a DD gift card.