Curtis McElhinney and Martin Jones were the starting goalies and based on Saturday night's performance, the feeling was that this would end up another one goal game.
Cody Goloubef took a two minute breather for an early slashing minor just two minutes into the game. With Goloubef in the box, Trent Vogelhuber picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone. Cutting left as he bore in on Jones, Vogs went to the quick backhander. Jones got a piece, but not enough. The shorty gave the Falcons an early 1-0 lead. Ryan Russell picked up the only assist on the goal.
I don't want to say that referees Chris Brown and Dave Lewis had an off day. Well yeah, actually referees Chris Brown and Dave Lewis did have an off day. This started on Goloubef's next shift where he was assessed a minor for delay of game. In a clearing attempt, Cody played the puck up the right side of the ice. The puck was pretty obviously deflected over the glass. I thought so. The Falcons thought so. The fans thought so. However, the zebras thought not.
Manchester tied the game on the power play when Nick Deslauriers split the D and beat C-Mac, making it 1-1.
Whether it was remorse or not, after the Monarchs goal at 7:10, they were given penalties at 7:27 and 7:33, giving the Falcons a 5 on 3 advantage. During the power play, there was a lot of passing, hoping to find just the right spot. The best scoring bid came off the stick of Nick Drazenovic where he was flat out stoned by Jones.
Shortly after that power play, Tanner Pearson took a seat for hooking. Sean Collins and Jake Hansen put some good pressure on Jones, who remained steady in the Manchester net.
With the first period winding down, I noticed that the energy was still there for both teams, but the legs on both clubs looked a bit weary. Drazenovic made another great shot late in the frame, but again Jones was the difference.
The first period ended 1-1, with the Birds outshooting the Monarchs 14-9.
Once the second period got underway, the line of Hansen-Drazenovic-Collins was still working hard. It's just a matter of time before they find the back of the net.
Brian O'Neill turned on his jets and cut in on McElhinney with Nick Holden in pursuit. Holden made a good defensive play here to impede the quality of O'Neill's scoring attempt. O'Neill managed to get two shots off quickly with C-Mac rejecting both.
Midway through the period, it appeared that the Monarchs were a desperate, hungrier hockey team. Manchester continued to apply the pressure, with Blake Parlett and Ted Ruth playing some really good defense.
Anthony Stewart stripped Goloubef of the puck behind the Falcons net and whipped around and deposited the puck behind C-Mac for the 2-1 Manchester lead.
Moments later, Oshawa teammates Boone Jenner and Scott Sabourin got into a little shoving match, earning themselves roughing minors.
The Monarchs claimed full ownership of the period, outshooting Springfield 14-6 in the period and skating off with a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
After the break, the Falcons came out focused and energized for the third period. David Kolomatis took a holding penalty and on the ensuing power play, some great passing between Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Michael Chaput set up a David Savard big blast from the point that Jones never saw, tying the game 2-2.
JAM looked to have given the Falcons the lead about three minutes later. This was a sweet play. Check out the video below. This sequence starts around the 2'40" mark. I saw the play live and now I've looked at the replay ten times. I'm still not seeing the "distinct kicking motion" that caused the goal to be disallowed. My suspicion is that because the goal was waved off immediately by Dave Lewis, the video would have had to be conclusive to turn his on-ice call over. Regardless, this should have been a good goal.
Ted Ruth's defensive game has really come together at a great time. He made a spectacular diving block to break up three Manchester skaters in front of the Birds cage. A beauty!
The officials onslaught continued with Cody Bass being called for elbowing at 13:47. Another curious call, considering his arms were at his side as he applied a solid body check along the half wall.
Nick Deslauriers was given a holding the stick penalty late in regulation. Nothing came of it, and this one, like the night before, went to bonus hockey.
McElhinney was positively huge in this overtime. Mac was brilliant, rejecting Tanner Pearson from point blank range.
My notes from early in the OT read: "russell and bass nearly duplicated last night's magic". That was around the 5 minute mark. These two came ready to play!
David Meckler went in on a breakaway and shot it over the Falcons cage.
Kolomatis took a penalty for tripping at 16:39 of the OT. After his cannon in the third period, Savard remained en fuego and had a couple of nice looks on the PP.
As the penalty expired, Falcons in the Manchester zone. In a play that was nearly identical to the one less than 24 hours prior, Bass cut to the net and backhanded the game winner past Jones. An incredible finish to an amazing weekend of Falcons hockey!
Game Two's Three Stars:
1 - Curtis McElhinney
2 - Cody Bass
3 - David Savard
As he has been all season long, C-Mac was the difference in this hockey game. He is calming and inspiring and he gives the Falcons a better than even chance at winning every single time. Cody Bass? Regular Cannon readers have known of my respect for this guy for the last couple of years. With some of the injuries that he has endured over the last year-plus, he's truly an inspiration to anybody that knows him. Savard has found his game and has become a rock on D for the Falcons.
After a well deserved rest, Game Three will take place on Thursday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH.