Falcons Game 3: Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Taking into account the Opening Night traffic jam as the Falcons traveled to Manchester, NH, the start to the season has to be gratifying to the Springfield Falcons, with two big road wins out of the three games that they've played.

The Falcons took to the road for their third consecutive game of the young American Hockey League season on Friday night. The Falcons, after enjoying a six goal outburst in their last game, scored seven times last night, from seven different players in a 7-4 thumping in a "Battle of the Birds", against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Talk about a balanced attack! This was the second straight game that despite scoring goals by the bag full, no Falcon in either game lit the lamp more than once.

The Falcons got off to a fast start on the power play when Martin St. Pierre notched his first goal as a Falcon at the 1:48 mark.

Special teams were the story of the early going as Nick Drazenovic buried his second marker of the season. Drazzy's goal was a short handed effort, assisted by Adam Mair, who simply stripped the puck from the Pens Niko Dimitrakos in the corner. Great hustle by Mair, and a nice effort by Nick knocking home the one timer.

The rest of the recap and video of the goals follow the jump...

The Pens pulled within one when Paul Thompson scored his first of the season.

Shots on goal in the first period were 11-9 in favor of the Penguins.

Allen York once again looked sharp. The goal he gave up clearly beat him over his left shoulder. John Moore and Nick Holden were the defensive pair on the ice for the goal.

10 14 11 goals (via SpfdFalconsAHL)

An eventful second period in which Falcons starting netminder Allen York took the brunt of a slash/collision at the hands of the Pens' Paul Thompson. York was shaken up badly and after a few minutes with Falcons trainer Tom Bourdon in the crease, York couldn't continue and came out. Later labelled as an "upper body injury".

Soon after Paul Dainton came on in relief, Geoff Walker lit the lamp for the Penguins tying the game at 3.

Mike Thomas scored his first pro goal at the 11:01 mark of the second period, assisted by Ryan Garlock, giving the Falcons back their one gaol lead. The play started in the neutral zone when Thomas' forechecking led to the Penguins' Alex Grant coughing up the disc. A sweet give and go with Garlock as Ryan came in and made a perfect pass to Thomas that left Penguins netminder Scott Munroe bewildered at the offensive onslaught of the Falcons.

Former Falcon Bryan Lerg tied the game once again, just two minutes later.

Then some sloppy play by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gave the Falcons special teams another opportunity to shine.

First, the Penguins were assessed a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 13:57, followed by Alexandre Picard whistled for a boarding call at 14:51.

In one of the best utilized time-outs that I can recall, assistant coach Brad Larsen brought the Falcons to the bench and laid out the plan for the two man advantage.

The brilliant time-out paid dividends just 17 seconds later when Cam Atkinson scored his first goal of the season. Martin St. Pierre and Nick Holden set up the goal. Then just a minute later, John Moore wristed one home from the top of the face off circle with helpers from Cody Bass and Nick Drazenovic. The two power play goals gave the Falcons a 5-3 lead through two periods.

Paul Dainton stopped 7 of 9 shots in relief of York in the second period. The Penguins held a 22-21 advantage in shots on goal through two periods.

During the 2nd intermission, the voice of the Falcons Mike Kelly interviewed Cam Atkinson. Atkinson as expected, gave a great accounting of himself. This particular quote stuck with me and should resonate to Blue Jackets fans far and wide:

"I'm going to take it one day at a time, and work my tail off."

No pity party for Cam. Just the words of somebody who is determined to sharpen his skills and return to the NHL.

A relatively quiet third period saw Bryan Lerg tally his second goal of the night, cutting the Falcons lead to 5-4.

Before the Penguins bench quieted down, Ryan Russell picked up his first goal as a Falcon, once again making the margin two goals.

The scoring closed out with Oliver Gabriel scoring his first pro goal at 13:38 of the period. A nice second effort goal, as Gabe stayed with the puck after Munroe made a stop, but left the rebound there for the picking.

This was another terrific effort by the Falcons. At times, the defense was a little spotty, but nothing to throw water bottles about.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. Martin St. Pierre (SPR)
2. Nick Drazenovic (SPR)
3. Bryan Lerg (WBS)

Tonight is the long awaited opening night at home for the Falcons. The game has not yet sold out, so if you get the chance, come out to the MassMutual Center for a big night tonight! The Falcons will be honoring the 1990 and 1991 Calder Cup champion Springfield Indians. Coach Jimmy Roberts, Carolina Hurricanes and Versus broadcaster John Forslund, former captain Rob Dimaio and many others will be on hand. The doors to the MassMutual Center open at 5PM tonight.

The Falcons opponents, the Providence Bruins, are off to an 0-3 start. The Baby B's have only scored 3 goals, while surrendering 15. Last night the B's were embarrassed on their home ice by the Manchester Monarchs 7-1.

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