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Falcons Game 32: Harpooned in Hartford

2011 was brutal for most of western Massachusetts. Personally, I'd like to kick it goodbye with a steel toed boot. Saturday night, the Falcons ended calendar 2011 with a 5-2 loss to the Connecticut Whale at the XL Center in Hartford. This was the fifth meeting of the season between the two clubs. Connecticut is now 5-0 so far against the Birds.

The Falcons, continued their strong play from Friday night in the opening period. The Whale however are not the Providence Bruins, and managed to get on the board seven and a half minutes in when Kris Newbury deflected a Tim Erixon point shot. Springfield goalie Manny Legace went straight to referee Dan Dreger, protesting that Newbury's stick was high. The argument went nowhere, "Brass Bonanza" blared in the arena and it was 1-0 Whale.

Tomas Kubalik tallied his seventh marker of the season a minute and twenty seconds later. Kubalik finished off a picture perfect feed from Andrew Joudrey after Ryan Russell started the play.

Connecticut's Sam Klassen was serving a hooking minor late in the period when Dane Byers stormed the Whale cage, connecting for his eighth goal of the season. Maksim Mayorov and Brett Lebda assisted the captain to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.

The Whale came out on fire to start the middle period. Andreas Thuresson quickly tied the game with his ninth goal of the season. Despite the Falcons best efforts, the Whale continued to assert themselves on their home ice. Ryan Russell was in the penalty box for holding when Pavel Valentenko found the back of the net with a blue line blast to give the Whale a 3-2 lead.

From then on, it was all Connecticut. Kris Newbury, with his second of the game and Brendan Bell closed out the scoring, making the final 5-2 for Connecticut.

The Falcons are off until next Friday when they embark on another three game in three day span. Friday night, the Worcester Sharks come to Springfield. Next Saturday and Sunday, the Falcons are going to have to retool when they face the Connecticut Whale in a home and home series.

I send along best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful new year!