Falcons Game 48: The Wojtek Wolski Show

Yes it was.

The oft-injured Wolski showed the form that earned him a big contract with the Phoenix Coyotes a couple of seasons ago. Wolski has yet to show that form on Broadway, and was recently sent to the Whale on a two week conditioning assignment. He opened the scoring at 1:04 of the first period, firing a laser from the high slot past Manny Legace. He finished the scoring at 1:04 of the overtime session when he took a Legace clearing attempt and buried it, giving the Connecticut Whale a come from behind 3-2 win against the Falcons on Friday night in Springfield. Sandwiched between those two goals, Wolski was the best player on the ice, showing the speed which had been his trademark in the desert.

After the first goal, the Falcons stormed right back with Cam Atkinson finishing a feed from Alexandre Giroux just 16 seconds later. Patrick Cullity picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Then, the period was all Manny Legace. The Whale bombarded Manny with an ungodly 23 shots in the first period. After surrendering the game winner, on a cotton soft goal, Legace remained on hands and knees for quite some time as his teammates came out to console him. Let me be clear about one thing: without that first period by him, there is no earthly way the Falcons can even think about overtime, let alone winning this hockey game. Yes, a very soft goal for the game winner, but the Falcons earn a point in the standings based on the first period effort.

After a well played, but scoreless second period, Cam Atkinson notched a power play goal at 6:50 of the third period. Brent Regner started the play at the blueline, passing in to Giroux in the high slot. Giroux threaded a pass to Cam who blasted the one timer past Chad Johnson, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead.

Falcon killer, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault scored his 17th of the season with just 3:06 remaining in regulation. He gained control of the puck in his defensive zone and turned on the jets along the right boards. At the top of the faceoff circle, he fired a blast that cleanly beat Legace high on the short side, tying the game at two.

That set the stage for Wolski's overtime marker. A play that started innocently enough, as Manny fielded a long half shot by Jared Nightingale. When Legace went to play it off the near boards, he inadvertently put it right on Wolski's twig. Wolski then, went right around Manny and buried it for the game winner.

Friday's Three Stars
1. Wojtek Wolski
2. Cam Atkinson
3. Chad Johnson

Despite the outcome, this was a fantastic hockey game. High energy on both sides with plenty of end to end action. The Falcons are to be commended for the way they played especially in the second and most of the third periods. The defense, with Brett Motherwell back on another PTO, still played reasonably well. Much like Columbus, Falcons fans have to wonder where the team would be if both the Jackets and the Falcons hadn't had to deal with such an unbelievable number of lost man games this season.

The depleted Falcons will face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tonight in Bridgeport, CT. With the never ending parade of injuries to the parent Blue Jackets, Dalton Prout will be with the Jackets in Minnesota to make his NHL debut. Personally, I am very excited by this callup. Prout has become a key component of the Falcons defense. Over the last month, he's been showing a great shot from the blueline also. It will likely be a tough night in Minny, but it will also be a night that Dalton will never forget.

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