Falcons Game 1: Also A Work in Progress
Such was the case Friday night as I tuned into the Falcons season opener, on the road in Manchester, NH.
Ordinarily the ride from Springfield to Manchester is about 2 hours, maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Due to a monstrous traffic jam caused by a collision involving two tractor trailers on I-495 (one of the nation's most wretched highways), the ride took the better part of 4 hours and 30 minutes.
The scheduled 7:05 faceoff was pushed back by 48 minutes. So much for stretching and warming up.
The opening stanza was what you would expect from a bunch of hockey players who were stuck on a bus for most of the afternoon and early evening.
Paul Dainton earned the starting nod in goal for the Falcons. In the first half of the period, Dainton had to deal with two breakaways. With Tomas Kubalik serving a hooking minor, Justin Azevedo got the Monarchs on the board.
Then, the game quickly turned into the Marc-Andre Cliche show. The Manchester center put up a natural hat trick against the Birds, with goals at 12:20 of the 1st, and 14 seconds and 6:45 of the second period.
As the game approached the midpoint of the second period, it seemed that the defense was having a difficult time in clearing the zone.
Having dug themselves a 5-0 hole, Alexandre Giroux found the back of the net for Springfield, notching a goal in his first game as a Falcon. Helpers went to Martin St. Pierre and Tomas Kubalik.
The Falcons trailed the Monarchs 5-1 after two periods.
Cody Bass lit the lamp early in the third period, cutting the margin to 5-2.
That would be as close as the Falcons could get in Game #1. The remainder of the third period was not without its own fireworks though.
A minor scuffle erupted at the 7:56 mark when Manchester's Richard Clune interfered with Paul Dainton. Dalton Prout came to his netminder's aid. Prout took the minor for roughing and Clune a double minor.
Tempers boiled over at 18:05 when Dane Byers and Andrew Campbell got into a scrap, each earning fighting majors. Clune, who fought Aaron Bogosian in the first period, made his voice heard, earning an unsportsmanlike minor and a 10 minute misconduct.
Coach Rob Riley assessed the opener this way:
"They are a good hockey club and they took advantage of our mistakes. We are trying to mold our team quickly, we told the players that, we have a lot of new faces that are learning each other, but we know we have to come together as a group and we will continue that tomorrow in Albany."
The Falcons return to action tonight in Albany, NY when they take on the Devils with a 7PM start.