Falcons Wrap Up Big Week
Curtis McElhinney was the difference, as he has been for Springfield all season, as he backstopped the Falcons to a 3-0-0 week. Along the way, C-Mac eclipsed one long standing Springfield record and he reached a career milestone in another.
Wednesday, he blanked the Manchester Monarchs 2-0, his ninth shutout in a Falcons sweater this season. Earlier in the season, he passed Manny Legace's single season Falcons record of 5 shutouts. The whitewash of the Monarchs surpassed Legace's all time Falcons career mark of eight, but also a single season Springfield mark set back in 1960-'61 by AHL Hall of Famer, Marcel Paille. Paille recorded eight shutouts that season, the middle of a Calder Cup threepeat that has never been duplicated in AHL history.
March 20: Falcons 2, Monarchs 0
The Falcons have been offensively challenged of late. On a night like this when C-Mac worked his mojo, two goals were plenty.
Newcomer Thomas Larkin (Colgate University, in on an ATO), scored his first pro goal, which proved to be the game winner. Andrew Joudrey scored late in the first period after Manchester goalie Martin Jones misplayed the biscuit behind his cage.
March 22: Falcons 2, Sharks 1
Falcons fans have been treated to superb goaltending this season. Most of that has come on the shoulders of Curtis McElhinney. Anytime C-Mac takes a shutout into the third period, we expect him to register the zero. The Friday night tilt against Worcester was no exception.
Collectively, the nearly 4400 in attendance gasped when Sharks defenseman Adam Comrie drew in close and potted his second goal of the season nine minutes into the third period.
The Birds built a 2-0 lead on goals from Sean Collins and Nick Holden. Collins alertly was in front of the Sharks net when Spencer Machacek stole the puck in the corner. The Sharks stopped moving when they felt there should have been an icing call. Machacek dug the disc out and put it right on Collins blade just 13 seconds into the game.
Holden's sixth goal of the season came on the power play late in the second period. Holden, Cody Goloubef and David Savard have all mastered moving in from the blueline and getting off some premium shots from the high slot this season.
March 23: Falcons 4, Sound Tigers 3 (SO)
McElhinney's third game of the week resulted in the Falcons third win of the week. The milestone he reached was his 100th career AHL victory.
Andrew Joudrey, definitely one of the Falcons unsung heroes, scored on the last shootout attempt, enabling the Falcons to win one of their more undisciplined games of the season.
Springfield allowed Bridgeport 10, yes TEN, power plays in this game. The special teams, led by Joudrey, managed to shut down their hosts on all ten bids.
This was the first time the Falcons have scored more than two goals in a game in their previous 10 contests. Despite the power outage, the Birds managed to go 4-4-1-1 in those previous ten games.
Falcons scorers in this one were Trent Vogelhuber with two and Nick Holden. Holden's, like the night before, was a scorcher from above the faceoff circle with the man advantage.
Vogelhuber, the Dublin, OH native, has emerged on his latest recall from the ECHL, as a reliable two way forward. His second goal of the night was a shorty off a picture perfect feed from Nick Drazenovic.
In the shootout, Bridgeport scored first. Drazenovic and Goloubef gave the Falcons the lead. Joe Diamond, in his first AHL game tied it for the Sound Tigers, leaving Joudrey as the final shooter where he capitalized, earning the Falcons the win.
The Week Ahead
Springfield now has just 12 games remaining in the regular season. The Birds have two games on tap this week, both on home ice. A rare Thursday night game is up first, when the Sound Tigers come in for a 7PM game. Then on Saturday, the Connecticut Whale provide the opposition.