FALCONS BEAT SHARKS 3-2 IN OT
By: Sean Seifert
November 16, 2011 – The Springfield Falcons finished their 6-game homestand with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Worcester Sharks on Wednesday night. Tomas Kubalik scored twice for Springfield and Alexandre Giroux claimed the game-winning goal to lift the Falcons to an 8-7 winning record on the season.
Falcons’ head coach Rob Riley says Kubalik is definitely a threat on the ice. “Kubie (Kubalik) is a dangerous player. He can do a lot of things: he is tough, he goes to the net, he finds ways to score and I think he brings a lot to his line,” said Riley.
The Falcons kept the puck on their offense in the first period, claiming possession and posting 11 shots on goal. On the Falcons’ power play, Nick Drazenovic slipped the puck across Worcester goaltender Tyson Sexsmiths’ crease, but was unable to connect with the waiting Dane Byers. The Sharks managed to score on a power play of their own at 14:20 of the first period when Sena Acolatse sent a seeking slap shot off the post and past Manny Legace.
Legace earned his first start on Wednesday since an October 23 game against the Connecticut Whale. The Falcons couldn’t convert two power play advantages, and the birds ended the first period with a 1-0 deficit.
In the second period, the Falcons leveled the score on the power play. At 11:29 of the period, Cam Atkinson dished the puck to Martin St. Pierre who slotted a quick pass across the crease for Kubalik to slam home. The Falcons put 11 more shots on net in the second period, and ended the first 40 minutes of play even with the Sharks at 1-1.
The Falcons wasted little time in the third period, gaining a lead early with a goal just 50-seconds into the final frame. In a three-on-one break, Byers pushed the puck up to Drazenovic who set up Kubalik for his second goal of the game, giving the Falcons a 2-1 advantage. Kubalik has battled injuries throughout the early season and in only five games with the Falcons this year, he has notched 3 goals and 2 assists.
“I’ve missed ten games. It’s a lot of time to miss and I am excited to play,” said Kubalik. “I played my best and I have a great line with Byers and Drazenovic and we played really well tonight.”
Falcons’ penalty trouble gave the Sharks their second power play goal of the night, coming from Matt Irwin at 11:41 of the final frame. With the game tied at 2 apiece, the Falcons killed off a 4-minute high sticking penalty to ensure the overtime.
Just 52-seconds into the overtime period, Worcester was awarded a penalty shot that Legace turned away with his glove to keep the Falcons alive. Legace denied 24 of 26 shots in the game. The Falcons went on the man advantage for a tripping penalty at 1:50 and Giroux slapped home the game-winning goal at 2:22 off a setup from David Savard.
“Overtime is kind of a lucky time. They get a penalty shot and Manny makes a big save, we come down and Giroux does what he does best,” said Riley.
The Falcons will hit the road this weekend for back to back away games against the Providence Bruins and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Springfield heads to Providence on Friday for a 7:05 puck drop at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Dane Byers - Nick Drazenovic - Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell - Andrew Joudrey - Wade MacLeod
Tim Spencer - Ryan Garlock - Aaron Bogosian
David Savard - Nick Holden
Theo Ruth - Brent Regner
Cody Goloubef - Brett Lebda
Not dressed: Anton Blomqvist, Maksim Mayorov (Injured), Oliver Gabriel, Dalton Prout, Adam Mair, Mike Thomas, Allen York
Worcester Sharks 2 at Springfield Falcons 3 (OT) - Status: Final OT
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - MassMutual Center
Worcester 1 0 1 0 - 2
Springfield 0 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Acolatse 2 (Irwin, Ferriero), 14:20 (PP). Penalties-Connolly Wor (boarding), 3:32; Pelech Wor (interference), 9:36; Goloubef Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:48.
2nd Period-2, Springfield, Kubalik 2 (St. Pierre, Atkinson), 11:29 (PP). Penalties-Irwin Wor (holding), 9:27; Lucia Wor (high-sticking), 11:18.
3rd Period-3, Springfield, Kubalik 3 (Drazenovic, Byers), 0:50. 4, Worcester, Irwin 5 (Acolatse, Ferriero), 11:41 (PP). Penalties-St. Pierre Spr (interference), 10:46; Drazenovic Spr (double minor - high-sticking), 12:29; Wingels Wor (goaltender interference), 13:26.
OT Period-5, Springfield, Giroux 4 (Savard, St. Pierre), 2:22 (PP). Penalties-Moon Wor (tripping), 1:50.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-9-8-2-26. Springfield 11-10-11-1-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 3; Springfield 2 / 6.
Goalies-Worcester, Sexsmith 2-3-2 (33 shots-30 saves). Springfield, Legace 1-3-0 (26 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46).
Linesmen-Rich Patry (52), Brent Colby (7).
GAME PREVIEW – The Springfield Falcons and Worcester Sharks meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons and Sharks will get together eight times this year with Springfield operating in the Northeast Division and Worcester in the Atlantic Division.
The Falcons enter tonight’s contest having won four of their last six games and post a record of 7-7 through 14 games on the young season. Springfield concludes a six-game homestand tonight and they will play three games in the next four days, including back-to-back road games this weekend at Providence and Bridgeport.
The Sharks skate into Springfield looking to snap a two-game losing streak and looking to bounce back from dropping five of their last six contests going 1-4-0-1 in that span. The Sharks currently have a record of 5-4-0-2 and they have played the fewest amount of games in the league at 11 thus far. Worcester will play four of their next five games on the road.
Martin St. Pierre extended his scoring streak to seven games with an assist on Saturday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. St. Pierre has three goals and six assists for nine points in his last seven games. He is now tied with Nick Drazenovic for the team lead in scoring with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 14 games.
Nick Drazenovic missed both games last weekend due to injury, but he remains tied with St. Pierre for the team lead in scoring with three goals and 11 assists for 14 points in 11 games. Drazenovic continues to lead the Falcons in assists.
Rookie Cam Atkinson has scored in four of his last five games, including four straight contests from October 28-November 11. Atkinson is tied with St. Pierre for second on the team in goals this year with five.
Ryan Russell leads the Falcons in goals with six markers in 12 games. Russell scored in both games this past weekend and he was the game’s top star on Friday, November 11 against the Portland Pirates.
Alexandre Giroux scored a pair of goals on Saturday, November 12 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Giroux has three goals and two assists in just five games with the Falcons.
Tomas Kubalik appeared in both games last weekend collecting one assist after missing the previous two games due to injury. Kubalik has missed 10 of Springfield’s 14 games this year due to injury.
Danny Taylor earned his fifth win of the season on Friday, November 11 making 25 saves in a 4-1 win over the Portland Pirates. Manny Legace stopped 27 of 28 shots in relief on Saturday, November 12 against Bridgeport, his first game action since October 23. Taylor leads all Falcons goaltenders in wins (5) and save percentage .921.
FALCONS SIGN SPENCER - The Springfield Falcons announced Monday that forward Tim Spencer has been signed to a Professional Tryout Agreement.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound native of Carnduff, Saskatchewan has split this season between the ECHL’s Chicago Express and Trenton Titans where he has collected one assist and 47 penalty minutes in 10 combined games. In 54 career AHL games, Spencer has one goal and one assist with 197 penalty minutes seeing time with the Manitoba Moose and Binghamton Senators.
YORK RETURNS TO FALCONS - On Sunday, the Columbus Blue Jackets assigned goaltender Allen York to the Falcons.
York, 21, has appeared in four games with the Blue Jackets this season, going 0-1-0 with a 3.53 goals-against average and .878 save percentage. He made his NHL debut against Detroit on October 25 and made his first NHL start at Chicago on October 29. He has a 1-0-0 record with a 2.97 GAA and .907 SV% in two games with Springfield this season.
The Blue Jackets’ sixth pick, 158th overall, in the 2007 Entry Draft, York signed his entry level contract on March 29, 2011 after he completed his junior season at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (R.P.I.). He went 18-11-4 with a 2.17 GAA, .924 SV% and two shutouts in 34 games with the Engineers. He was named Third Team All-ECAC after he finished the season ranked third in the league in wins and GAA and fifth in SV%. He also appeared in four games with the Falcons at the end of the 2010-11 season, going 3-1-0 with a 2.04 GAA, .926 SV% and one shutout.
WORCESTER SHARKS NOTES
Forward John McCarthy has two goals and one assist in his last three games.
Rookie Mike Connolly leads the Sharks in scoring with five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 11 games. He is currently seventh in the league in rookie scoring.
Defenseman Matt Irwin is second on the team in scoring with four goals and five assists for nine points in 11 games. Irwin leads the Sharks with four power play goals. Irwin has four of Worcester’s nine power play markers this year. Irwin is 9th in the league in scoring among defenseman.
Sharks goaltender Tyson Sexsmith is second in the AHL in goals against average at 1.80.