Friday: Falcons 3 @ Providence 6
When the shocking story from Newtown, CT broke on Friday, I knew that my work day productivity came to an end. The fact that these two teams took to the ice and were expected to play at their expected high level simply boggles the mind. But play they did.
The final score doesn't give a real indication to the fact that the Birds remained in this one until late in the third period. What was a 4-3 game became 5-3 on a Ryan Spooner goal at 12:54, followed by an empty netter and that was all she wrote.
After a scoreless first period, Springfield dug themselves a 3-0 hole in the middle frame on a Providence shorty, a power play and even strength tallies.
Tomas Kubalik and Nick Drazenovic scored 18 seconds apart early in the third period to get the Falcons within one.
What I felt was the backbreaker to Springfield's comeback was a Jamie Tardif goal at 7:46. This one crushed the Falcon momentum and despite a Cam Atkinson goal two minutes later, the Birds couldn't regain the control that they enjoyed earlier in the period.
Coach Brad Larsen said after the game:
It wasn’t too little too late, it was too little. It’s completely unacceptable how this group played tonight. They know it. I know they know it.
Saturday: St. John's 3 @ Falcons 2 OT
Back on their home ice for the only time in three plus weeks, the Falcons were looking for some home cooking at the expense of the St. John's IceCaps, a team that the Falcons were 3-0 with so far this season, including a two game sweep last weekend up in the Maritimes.
Allen York was the starting goaltender for the Falcons, in his first AHL action of the season. York looked solid in his return to action. This will be important as the team enters the middle portion of the season, when the three in three's start to pile up.
Sean Collins continued his rookie success when he scored his sixth goal of the campaign to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Spencer Machacek countered with a power play goal at 18:34 to send the clubs to the locker rooms tied 1-1.
A fight worth looking for was Dalton Prout and Ryan Schnell. Fists were a-flying in this main event of the two young heavyweights. A beauty!
A scoreless middle stanza gave way to the third period when Raymond Sawada scored on the power play to give the visitors the lead, 2-1.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, York went to the bench in favor of the extra skater. The Falcons furiously stormed IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale. As the clock counted down, David Savard connected with Cam Atkinson on a nice scoring attempt. After a Pasquale save the puck bounced free to a wide open Ryan Johansen who deposited the biscuit in the basket, tying the game with just 28 seconds remaining.
This was a really tight defensive game, as the score would indicate. But also shots on goal were low; St. John's with 24 and Springfield with 23.
The Falcons defense took a blow with Prout and Moore sustaining their injuries in this game. Prout, in addition to his earlier fight, took a slash (uncalled) to the hand later on. Moore took a huge hit and was on rubbery legs briefly afterward.
The overtime ended badly for Springfield when Ivan Telegin converted only 56 seconds into the extra frame, giving the IceCaps a measure of revenge and the 3-2 win.
Sunday: Falcons 3 @ Manchester 2 SO
The Falcons ended their shootout woes, at least temporarily, when they picked up their first shootout win of the season on Sunday afternoon.
The first period was scoreless. Curtis McElhinney turned aside all six Manchester shots while Martin Jones rejected eleven Falcon attempts.
The defensive effort put forth by the Falcons was strong, considering both Prout and Moore were out of the lineup.
Cam Atkinson scored his team leading 15th goal on the power play, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead early in the middle stanza.
Two quick goals by the Monarchs gave Manchester a 2-1 lead early in the third period. With neither team showing an abundant amount of offense, it looked like the Falcons could be coming home with their first winless weekend of the season.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault changed that when he one timed a picture perfect David Savard pass past Jones, knotting the game at two. This was a terrific goal by JAM. He was camped out on the left dot and absolutely blasted the puck over Jones shoulder.
The clubs matched up evenly in the OT, both taking two shots unsuccessfully, before heading to the shootout.
C-Mac stood tall, denying four Monarch attempts while Atkinson and Drazenovic both scored for Springfield, ensuring the SO win.
The Falcons return to action this Wednesday night in Portland, ME against the Pirates. Portland has been on fire, with a five game winning streak and are 8-2-0 in their last ten games. The Pirates are currently first in the Atlantic Division and third in the conference, just three points behind the Falcons.