FALCONS RALLY FALLS JUST SHORT
By: Sean Seifert
November 12, 2011 – The Springfield Falcons posted three unanswered goals in a third period rally on Saturday night, but were unable to level with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 4-3 loss at the MassMutual Center. Manny Legace backed the birds in net and Alexandre Giroux scored twice to give the Falcons a chance at forcing overtime in a heated third frame.
The Falcons got off to a slow start in the first period, allowing three goals in four minutes to give the Sound Tigers a 3-0 lead after one. Bridgeport’s Nino Niederreiter slid a quick shot through traffic off the faceoff to beat Falcons’ goaltender Danny Taylor at 4:20. The Sound Tigers built a lead at 6:27 with Calvin de Haan finding the five-hole on the power play. The Falcons’ deficit then expanded to three at 8:11 with a goal scored by Justin DiBenedetto.
Legace got the nod to relieve Taylor in net following the third goal at 8:11. Legace last saw ice time on October 23 at Hartford in a 4-1 loss to the Whale.
Falcons head coach Rob Riley doesn’t blame it on the goaltending. “Danny (Taylor) has been great for us, but tonight he didn’t have his A-game and we needed to pick him up and we didn’t,” said Riley. “Manny (Legace) was awesome; unfortunately we hung him out to dry but he was phenomenal.”
In the second period, the Sound Tigers managed to strengthen their lead by a goal. Legace fended off a penalty shot with his left pad at 7:47 to keep hope alive for Springfield, but Bridgeport managed to build a four-goal cushion. David Ullstrom notched his 9th goal of season at 11:10 of the period. Ullstrom has scored a goal in 8 of the last 10 games he has played in.
The third period got physical as the Falcons pushed to get on the board. Falcons’ captain Dane Byers squared off with Micheal Haley at 3:50, sending a message to his teammates. Springfield then took a chip out of its’ deficit shortly after at 5:28 with Alexandre Giroux slapping home a rebound off a shot from Brett Lebda.
The Falcons rolled off of Giroux’s goal with another tally coming from Ryan Russell on the power play at 11:43 to bring the Falcons within a pair at 4-2. Giroux made it interesting at 19:25, slapping in his second goal of the evening to put the Falcons within reach at 4-3. The Falcons couldn’t complete the comeback and finished the game just short at 4-3.
“We almost got them there at the end, but you can’t wait till the third period and then turn on the switch and expect to win,” said Riley.
The Falcons return to action next week against the Worcester Sharks to round out their 6-game homestand. The first meeting between the Falcons and Sharks is set to start at 7 p.m. on MassMutual Center ice next Wednesday.
“We’re going to have to watch the game again, it’s going to be painful to watch it, but Monday we get back to work,” said Riley. “We’ve got a big week ahead with three games so we need to find our game quickly.”
Dane Byers - Adam Mair - Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell - Andrew Joudrey - Wade MacLeod
Aaron Bogosian - Ryan Garlock - Mike Thomas
David Savard - Nick Holden
Theo Ruth - Dalton Prout
Brent Regner - Brett Lebda
Not dressed: Mark Dekanich (Injured), Anton Blomqvist, Maksim Mayorov (Injured), Oliver Gabriel, Cody Goloubef, Nick Drazenovic (Injured)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 at Springfield Falcons 3 - Status: Final
Saturday, November 12, 2011 - MassMutual Center
Bridgeport 3 1 0 - 4
Springfield 0 0 3 - 3
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Niederreiter 2 (Frischmon), 4:20. 2, Bridgeport, de Haan 1 (Frischmon), 6:27 (PP). 3, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 9 (Ness), 8:11. Penalties-Atkinson Spr (hooking), 4:45; Donovan Bri (hooking), 13:13.
2nd Period-4, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 9 11:10. Penalties-served by Romano Bri (bench minor - too many men), 4:27; Thomas Spr (charging), 11:10; McNeely Bri (interference), 17:12.
3rd Period-5, Springfield, Giroux 2 (Regner, Lebda), 5:08. 6, Springfield, Russell 6 (MacLeod, Joudrey), 11:43 (PP). 7, Springfield, Giroux 3 (St. Pierre, Kubalik), 19:25. Penalties-Bogosian Spr (holding), 0:21; Haley Bri (fighting), 3:50; Byers Spr (fighting, game misconduct - abuse of officials), 3:50; McNeely Bri (fighting), 4:47; Bogosian Spr (fighting), 4:47; Ness Bri (interference), 5:28; Gillies Bri (roughing, roughing), 8:27; Marcinko Bri (slashing), 9:15.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 7-15-12-34. Springfield 5-7-19-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 / 3; Springfield 1 / 7.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Poulin 3-3-0 (31 shots-28 saves). Springfield, Taylor 5-2-0 (6 shots-3 saves); Legace 0-3-0 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Graham Skilliter (48).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Luke Galvin (2)
GAME PREVIEW – The Springfield Falcons and Bridgeport Sound Tigers meet for the first time this season when they get together on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons and Sound Tigers will meet eight times this year, four home and four away. The Falcons will head to Bridgeport next Saturday to take on the Sound Tigers.
The Falcons enter tonight’s game having won four of their last five games, including a 4-1 victory Friday night over the Portland Pirates on home ice. Cam Atkinson, Martin St. Pierre, Ryan Russell and Andrew Joudrey scored for the Falcons, while Danny Taylor earned his fifth win of the year. Nick Holden, David Savard, Alexandre Giroux, Wade MacLeod, and Theo Ruth also chipped in with assists on the evening.
Springfield has now improved their record to 7-6 on the season, one point behind both Adirondack and Albany for second place in the very tight Northeast Division. The Falcons also enter tonight’s contest only three points behind the Connecticut Whale for first place in the division.
The Sound Tigers enter Springfield looking to snap a two-game losing streak after dropping a 3-2 decision Friday to the Worcester Sharks. Bridgeport went on a season-high three-game winning streak from October 29-November 5 and overall, Bridgeport remains in the thick of things in the very competitive Northeast Division with a record of 6-6-1-0, one point behind Springfield.
FALCONS PLAYER STREAKS: Martin St. Pierre extended his scoring streak to six straight games recording the game-winning goal Friday night. St. Pierre has three goals and five assists for eight points on his current streak and for the season, he has five goals and eight assists in 13 games.
Cam Atkinson scored his fifth goal of the year last night and for the season, he has now tallied a marker in four consecutive contests. Atkinson is tied with St. Pierre and Ryan Russell for the club lead in goals on the young season.
Russell was named the game’s top star on Friday night, the third time this season he has earned that honor. He was the game’s first star on October 16 against Manchester scoring a pair of goals, while also earning the game’s top honor on October 28 with the overtime winner against the Hershey Bears.
BUSY WEEK FOR TRANSACTIONS – On Wednesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets assigned right wing Cam Atkinson to Springfield. Atkinson, 22, has registered one goal in five games with the Blue Jackets this season. He made his NHL debut vs. Nashville on October 7 and scored his first NHL goal against Vancouver on October 10. Columbus’ eighth pick, 157th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft, he appeared in five games with Springfield at the end of the 2010-11 season and recorded 3-2-5 and was +2 in five games.
On Monday, the Blue Jackets assigned forward Alexandre Giroux to the Falcons. Giroux, 30, scored one goal and had eight penalty minutes in nine games with Columbus after making his Blue Jackets debut at Dallas on October 15. In 48 career NHL games with Columbus, Edmonton, Washington and the New York Rangers, he has recorded 6-6-12 and 26 penalty minutes during his 10-year pro career, including 1-1-2 and two penalty minutes in eight games with the Oilers in 2010-11. He added 32-46-78 and 63 penalty minutes in 70 games with Oklahoma City, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, last season.
Also on Monday, the Falcons announced that defenseman Brett Lebda signed a Professional Tryout Agreement. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound native of Buffalo Grove, Illinois made his Falcons debut on Friday night. He is a veteran of 367 career National Hockey League games collecting 19 goals and 53 assists for 72 career points. Lebda spent six seasons with the Detroit Red Wings from 2004-2010 and was a member of the 2008-09 Detroit team that won the Stanley Cup. Lebda also played in 111 career AHL contests with the Grand Rapids Griffins from 2004-2006.
SOUND TIGERS NEWS AND NOTES
• Bridgeport forward Justin DiBenedetto leads the Sound Tigers in scoring with eight goals and four assists for 12 points in 13 games. He collected a hat trick in the second game of the season back on October 9 at Albany, and he has also registered at least a point in seven of the 13 games played.
• Rookie Casey Cizikas leads all Bridgeport first-year players in scoring with three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 13 games. He is second on the club in scoring and first on the team in assists. Cizikas has three goals and three assists for six points in his last five games.
• David Ullstrom is tied for the team lead in goals with eight with Justin DiBenedetto. Ullstrom has scored a goal in four straight contests entering tonight’s action and overall, he has scored a goal in eight of his last 10 games played.
• Tonight’s game features a pair of former Falcons players. Bridgeport head coach Brent Thompson played for the Falcons for two seasons, the 1995-96 and 1996-97 campaigns. Thompson was teammates with current Falcons goaltender Manny Legace and Springfield assistant coach Nolan Pratt on the 1996-97 Springfield squad. In 122 career games with the Falcons, Thompson collected 29 points and 418 penalty minutes.
• Trevor Frischmon returns to Springfield after spending the 2010-11 campaign with the Falcons. Frischmon played in all 80 games for Springfield last year collecting four goals and 25 assists for 29 points. The 25 assists and 29 points were both career bests for Frischmon.