FALCONS FALL TO WHALE
November 26, 2011 – The Springfield Falcons led most of the game, but dropped a 3-2 decision to the Connecticut Whale on Saturday night at the 4,133-filled MassMutual Center. A last minute goal gave the Whale the edge in the high energy division battle, dropping the Falcons to a 10-9 record.
Falcons head coach Rob Riley says his team was right there. “We had a lot of good chances, a lot of close plays around the net; just a couple went wide there in the third. That’s hockey,” said Riley.
The Falcons came out strong in the first period scoring first and holding the Whale to just four shots on goal. At 4:11, Alexandre Giroux fed Cam Atkinson for his 9th goal of the season, giving Springfield a 1-0 lead. The Falcons killed off a late holding penalty with a blocker stop by goaltender Danny Taylor, ensuring the one-goal advantage after the first.
In the second period, the Falcons and Whale exchanged goals. The Falcons built a 2-0 lead on the power play at 9:46 when Nick Drazenovic jammed in his fifth goal of the season off a rebound from Atkinson. Pavel Valentenko scored his first goal of the season for Connecticut at 14:23, whistling a deep slap shot in off the right post. The second frame came to a close with the Falcons in the lead at 2-1.
The Whale leveled the score at 5:09 of the final frame. Andreas Thuresson snuck a wrist shot past Taylor from the corner boards to bring the score to 2-2. In the last minute of play, Thuresson managed to follow up a rebound for his second goal of the game, scoring the decisive goal at 19:38 giving the Whale the 3-2 win.
Atkinson now leads the Falcons with 9 goals on the season. The rookie Boston College graduate says tonight’s game should have been a win.
“I thought we played a great 60 minutes, but they were able to capitalize on the chances they needed,” said Atkinson.“We could have won that game, we should have won that game, but when it comes down to it, you can’t always get those W’s,”
The Albany Devils come to Springfield Sunday afternoon for a 3 pm puck drop at the MassMutual Center. Sunday will mark the second meeting between the two teams; the first contest favoring the Falcons with a 6-3 win.
Martin St. Pierre missed the game due to injury. Ryan Russell moved to center for this game between Tomas Kubalik and Matt Calvert. Nick Drazenovic moved up to center Cam Atkinson and Alexandre Giroux.
Cam Atkinson now leads the team in goals with nine.
Both Atkinson and Drazenovic collected one goal and one assist in the game.
Alexandre Giroux - Nick Drazenovic - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - Ryan Russell - Tomas Kubalik
Adam Mair - Andrew Joudrey - Wade MacLeod
Aaron Bogosian - Ryan Garlock - Mike Thomas
David Savard - Nick Holden
Dalton Prout - Brent Regner
Cody Goloubef - Brett Lebda
Not dressed: Anton Blomqvist, Maksim Mayorov (Injured), Oliver Gabriel, Theo Ruth, Martin St. Pierre (Injured), Dane Byers (AHL Suspension), Tim Spencer (Injured)
Connecticut Whale 3 at Springfield Falcons 2 - Status: Final
Saturday, November 26, 2011 - MassMutual Center
Connecticut 0 1 2 - 3
Springfield 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Springfield, Atkinson 9 (Drazenovic, Giroux), 4:11. Penalties-Tanski Ct (checking to the head), 7:11; Lebda Spr (holding the stick), 17:46.
2nd Period-2, Springfield, Drazenovic 5 (Atkinson, Kubalik), 9:46 (PP). 3, Connecticut, Valentenko 1 (Zuccarello, Audy-Marchessault), 14:23. Penalties-Goloubef Spr (tripping), 0:30; Audy-Marchessault Ct (interference), 5:47; Johnson Ct (delay of game), 8:21; Lebda Spr (high-sticking), 15:46; Owens Ct (holding), 19:19.
3rd Period-4, Connecticut, Thuresson 4 (Audy-Marchessault), 5:09. 5, Connecticut, Thuresson 5 (Bourque, Bickel), 19:38. Penalties-Calvert Spr (interference), 9:35; Voros Ct (holding the stick), 10:31.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 4-8-7-19. Springfield 9-13-6-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 0 / 4; Springfield 1 / 5.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 5-3-2 (28 shots-26 saves). Springfield, Taylor 5-3-0 (19 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Chris Low (88), Robert St. Lawrence (10).
GAME PREVIEW – The Springfield Falcons and Connecticut Whale meet for the third time this season when they drop the puck at the MassMutual Center tonight at 7 pm. This will be the second overall meeting at the MassMutual Center between these two divisional rivals. The Falcons are 0-2 against the Whale this year dropping a home-and-home series with Connecticut back on October 22 and 23. Connecticut beat the Falcons in Springfield by a score of 2-1 on October 22, followed by a 4-1 Whale victory on October 23 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The Falcons and Whale will meet nine more times after tonight with the next matchup scheduled for December 3 in Springfield.
The Falcons enter tonight’s game having won three of their last four games and Springfield has also been winners in seven of their last 10 games overall. Springfield continues a stretch of three games in three days tonight with all three contests going up against divisional opponents. Springfield will look to rebound from a 5-1 setback Friday night at Adirondack with Matt Calvert scoring the Falcons’ lone goal assisted by Brent Regner and Nick Drazenovic.
The Falcons are currently in fourth place in a very competitive Northeast Division. Springfield has a record of 10-8-0-0 overall, one point behind third place Adirondack, two points behind second place Bridgeport and three points behind first place Connecticut. Only three points separates the five teams in the Northeast Division from top to bottom.
Connecticut also enters tonight’s contest having won three of their last four games and looking to rebound from a 6-2 defeat suffered Friday night at Bridgeport. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault led the Whale offense Friday with one goal and one assist, while Kelsey Tessier also scored for Connecticut. The Whale is currently in first place in the Northeast Division with a record of 10-5-1-2 good for 23 points.
CALVERT BACK WITH FALCONS: The Falcons received Matt Calvert back in their lineup on Friday as he was assigned to Springfield by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. This will be Calvert's second stint with the Falcons this year after appearing in four games in October before being recalled to Columbus on October 28. Calvert split last season between the Falcons and Blue Jackets where he had 13 goals and 12assists for 25 points in 38 games with Springfield, while also adding 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 42 games with Columbus in 2010-11.
AHL SUSPENSIONS: Connecticut Whale center Kris Newbury has been suspended for four (4) games as a consequence of an illegal check to the head of an opponent in a game vs. Bridgeport on Nov. 18. Newbury will miss Connecticut’s games Wednesday (Nov. 23) vs. Portland, Friday (Nov. 25) at Bridgeport, Saturday (Nov. 26) at Springfield and Nov. 29 vs. Hershey.
Springfield Falcons left wing Dane Byers has been suspended for two (2) games as a consequence of an illegal check to the head of an opponent in a game at Providence on Nov. 18. Byers will miss Springfield’s games Friday (Nov. 25) at Adirondack and Saturday (Nov. 26) vs. Connecticut.
RANGERS RECALL A PAIR: On Friday, New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced that the club has recalled forwards Carl Hagelin and John Mitchell from the Whale.
Hagelin, 23, tallied the primary assist on the shorthanded, game-tying goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation in Connecticut’s 3-2 overtime win vs. Portland Wednesday. He has registered seven goals and six assists for 13 points, along with six penalty minutes in 17 games this season.
Mitchell, 26, tallied two assists, including one on the overtime game-winner, in Connecticut’s 3-2 overtime win vs. Portland Wednesday. He has registered seven goals and seven assists for 14 points, along with 20 penalty minutes in 17 games this season.