Springfield Falcons - Northeast Division Champions
The Springfield Falcons are the Northeast Division champions for 2012-2013! The lock on the top spot came when the Providence Bruins blanked the Connecticut Whale 1-0. For good measure, the Birds turned in a solid 60 minute effort, defeating the Portland Pirates 4-2.
Opening up the scoring, Jake Hansen picked up his second goal of the season on assists from Alex Aleardi and David Savard as the first period wound down. Hansen's marker was his second of the season. There was a high intensity level to this game, right from the start. With Curtis McElhinney back in the Falcons goal, it wasn't out of the question that he might make that 1-0 lead stand up.
Midway through the second period, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault lit the lamp for his 20th goal of the season. His unassisted power play goal boosted Springfield to a 2-0 lead. McElhinney once again looked sharp in the Falcons cage and it was easy to give brief thought to this possibly being his 10th shutout of the season.
Dalton Smith took a minor for slashing late in the middle stanza, giving Portland the man advantage. Andy Miele of the Pirates connected on the power play with just 14 seconds left in the period, halving the Birds lead to 2-1. The Falcons were dominating territorial play, outshooting Portland 25-16 after 40 minutes of work.
Newly acquired Blake Parlett continued his hot streak since joining the Falcons. Parlett crept in on a power play half way through the final stanza. In a bang bang set up, JAM put the puck right on Sean Collins' blade. Collins fed the biscuit back to the goal line where Parlett was eagerly awaiting. The play happened so quickly, Portland goalie Mike Lee had absolutely no time to react.
Collins has been showing more and more of his maturity and solid work ethic since his recent visits to the NHL. Collins has been somewhat unstoppable since returning to Springfield and today was no exception. After setting up the Parlett goal, Sean finished off a gorgeous 2 on 1 to build the Falcons lead to 4-1.
Portland's Miele, as he did at the end of the middle frame, lit the lamp one more time with just two seconds remaining to close the gap to 4-2, but there was no more scoring and the Falcons won another very good hockey game.
Sunday's Three Stars:
1- Sean Collins
3- Andy Miele
Springfield returns to action next Friday night in Glens Falls, NY when they take on the Adirondack Phantoms in a 7PM contest. The Birds return home for their final two home games of the regular season on Saturday against Providence at 7PM and Sunday against Connecticut at 3PM.
After that, Springfield closes out the regular season with three road games. Wednesday the 17th at Worcester, Friday the 19th at Providence and Saturday the 20th in Glens Falls.