Falcons Game 64: Clemente Blanks Whale

Playing in only his second pro game, goaltender Mike Clemente of the Falcons made a strong bid to become the AHL's Player of the Week. After his debut Friday night against Portland where he allowed just one goal, Clemente went one better on Saturday night in Hartford. He stopped all 27 shots sent at him, becoming the first Falcons netminder in franchise history to shut out the Whale/Wolfpack club on their home ice in Hartford as the Falcons posted a crucial 3-0 win.

The Falcons lineup, still featuring five names not on their Clear Day roster, appears to have bonded at a perfect time of the season. With the win, the Falcons are now tied pointwise for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Falcons have 12 games remaining. Next up is a 4PM contest this afternoon in Providence.

Scoreless first and third periods belied the effort that both teams put forth. Both periods featured some key scoring opportunities which Clemente and Connecticut counterpart Chad Johnson rejected. Also, the pace was fast and featured solid but clean checking.

The second period is where it all happened on the scoreboard. Nick Drazenovic scored his second goal in two nights on the power play at 7:31. With Sam Klassen off for interference, Dalton Prout carried the puck into the Whale zone. Passing in to Wade MacLeod, MacLeod circled behind the Connecticut net, passing through the crease area to Drazenovic who one timed the pass for what turned out to be the game winning goal.

Another Falcon who has really stepped up over the last several weeks is Matt Calvert. Calvert scored his 15th goal at 14:21 on assists from Brent Regner and Drazenovic. Calvert picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone and broke out with Nick on a nice two-on-one. Holding the puck, he cut back to the high slot and fired, beating Johnson high glove for the 2-0 lead.

Maksim Mayorov added an insurance marker, unassisted, at 17:21. Maks used Wade Redden for the screen and Johnson never saw it, looking bad in the process. Hartford fans started a chant for Cameron Talbot to replace Johnson (starting his 10th straight for the Whale), to no avail.

Saturday's Three Stars
1 - Mike Clemente
2 - Nick Drazenovic
3 - Dalton Prout

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