FALCONS FALL SHORT TO WHALE
By: Sean Seifert
December 3, 2011 – The Springfield Falcons fell to the Connecticut Whale on Saturday night by a 6-3 decision at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons looked poised to defeat the division-rival Whale with a 3-1 lead at the beginning of the third period, but five power play goals in the final frame gave Connecticut their fourth straight win on Saturday night.
The Falcons played 6:26 of the first period on the power play, but were unable to take the lead over the Whale. Springfield took 10 shots on goal and held the Whale to only two shots in the period, but the game remained scoreless after one period of play.
Falcons head coach Rob Riley says his team is finding it hard to capitalize when it counts. “You always need another one or two goals to put teams away and were haven’t been able to get that this year,” said Riley.
In the second period, the Falcons built a lead over the Whale with a pair of goals. Dane Byers notched his fifth goal of the season, knocking home a rebound off a shot from Alexandre Giroux at 2:34. The Falcons’ lead doubled at 5:00 with Tim Spencer redirecting a shot from Wade MacLeod to put the birds up 2-0. Ryan Bourque put the Whale on the board at 8:09, squeaking the puck through the pads of Falcons’ goaltender Allen York. The second stanza ended with the Falcons on top 2-1.
Five power play goals in the third period gave Connecticut the edge. The Falcons began the third period with a goal scored by Byers at 2:17 to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead. In a span of 11:57, the Whale managed to tally five goals to capture the win. Andre Deveaux scored back to back goals in the third, leading the Whale to a 6-3 finish.
Whistles became an issue for the Falcons in the third period; coach Riley says it took its’ toll. “We were a little thin on defense, we were killing a lot of penalties and guys were getting tired. That’s what happens,” said Riley.
“Right now we aren’t creating enough breaks for ourselves.”
Spencer scored his first goal of the season in the game and the Falcons outshot the Whale 42-26.
The Falcons return to action on Sunday afternoon for a 3 pm matchup against the Portland Pirates at the MassMutual Center. The Pirates fell to the Falcons 4-1 on November 11th in the teams’ only other meeting of the season. Sundays contest will mark the third game in three days for the Falcons.
Alexandre Giroux - Martin St. Pierre - Tomas Kubalik
Matt Calvert - Ryan Russell - Cam Atkinson
Dane Byers - Andrew Joudrey - Adam Mair
Tim Spencer - Ryan Garlock - Wade MacLeod
Nick Holden - David Savard
Cody Goloubef - Brett Lebda
Brent Regner - Theo Ruth
Not dressed: Anton Blomqvist (Injured), Maksim Mayorov, Dalton Prout, Nick Drazenovic (Injured), Mike Thomas, Aaron Bogosian
Connecticut Whale 6 at Springfield Falcons 3 - Status: Final
Saturday, December 3, 2011 - MassMutual Center
Connecticut 0 1 5 - 6
Springfield 0 2 1 - 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Newbury Ct (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct - disputing decision), 3:48; Nightingale Ct (hooking), 7:28; served by Voros Ct (bench minor - too many men), 8:14.
2nd Period-1, Springfield, Byers 5 (Giroux, Holden), 2:34 (PP). 2, Springfield, Spencer 1 (MacLeod, Garlock), 5:00. 3, Connecticut, Bourque 2 (Audy-Marchessault, Redden), 8:09. Penalties-Giroux Spr (hooking), 0:26; Redden Ct (tripping), 1:54; Ruth Spr (boarding), 5:36; Bickel Ct (tripping), 11:55; Atkinson Spr (hooking), 13:08; Deveaux Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:10; Garlock Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:10; served by Voros Ct (bench minor - delay of game), 20:00.
3rd Period-4, Springfield, Byers 6 (Calvert, Lebda), 2:17. 5, Connecticut, Deveaux 5 (Valentenko, Redden), 7:44 (PP). 6, Connecticut, Deveaux 6 (Audy-Marchessault, Zuccarello), 11:08 (PP). 7, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 8 (Bouchard, Valentenko), 14:22 (PP). 8, Connecticut, Newbury 7 (Zuccarello, Bell), 16:56 (PP). 9, Connecticut, Voros 2 (Tessier, Parlett), 19:41 (PP). Penalties-St. Pierre Spr (hooking), 6:01; Newbury Ct (roughing), 10:42; Giroux Spr (slashing, roughing), 10:42; Holden Spr (interference), 13:16; Holden Spr (slashing), 16:04; Mair Spr (major - interference, game misconduct - interference), 16:25.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 2-8-17-27. Springfield 10-19-13-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 5 / 9; Springfield 1 / 7.
Goalies-Connecticut, Johnson 8-3-2 (42 shots-39 saves). Springfield, York 1-1-0 (27 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Graham Skilliter (48).
Linesmen-Rich Patry (52), Kevin Redding (16).
PRE-GAME PREVIEW – The Springfield Falcons and Connecticut Whale meet for the fourth time this season when they battle on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons are 0-3 against the Whale this season with two of three games decided by one goal or less. These two divisional rivals met last Saturday night at The Nest with Connecticut scoring twice in the third period to skate away with a 3-2 win.
The Falcons enter tonight’s contest having gone 0-3-1-0 in their last four games after earning a point on the road last night dropping a 4-3 decision in overtime at Worcester. Wade MacLeod, Cam Atkinson and Ryan Russell scored for the Falcons last night, while goaltender Manny Legace was once again solid stopping 36 of 40 shots on goal. Springfield currently has a record of 10-10-1-0 good for 21 points and fifth place in a very competitive Northeast Division. The Falcons will continue their weekend on Sunday as they host the Portland Pirates at the MassMutual Center starting at 3 pm.
Connecticut enters tonight’s contest having won three straight games after beating the Providence Bruins 4-1 Friday night in Providence, RI. The Whale received goals from Tommy Grant, Kris Newbury, Scott Tanski and Mats Zuccarello in the win, while goaltender Chad Johnson was steady stopping 28 of 29 shots on goal. The Whale remain in first place in the Northeast Division with a record of 13-5-1-2 good for 29 points. Connecticut has won six of their last seven contests and they will conclude their weekend on home ice on Sunday against the Binghamton Senators.
FALCONS PLAYER NOTES
Falcons center Martin St. Pierre returned to the Falcons lineup Friday after missing two games due to injury. St. Pierre collected one assist last night and he is now 9th in the AHL in scoring with five goals and 17 assists for 22 points in 19 games. St. Pierre is 5th in the league in assists this year.
Maksim Mayorov also returned to Springfield’s lineup Friday after missing nine games due to injury.
Cam Atkinson has taken over the team lead in goals with 10 on the season. He currently ranks 13th in the AHL in goals this year. Atkinson is 7th in the AHL in rookie scoring with 10 goals and six assists for 16 points in 19 games. Atkinson has collected at least a point in 10 of his last 12 games posting nine goals and four assists for 13 points in that span.
The Falcons announced a few roster moves this week heading into the weekend. The Columbus Blue Jackets assigned goaltender Allen York to the Falcons on Sunday. Springfield in turn released goaltender Danny Taylor from his PTO contract on Tuesday. The Columbus Blue Jackets also reassigned forward Oliver Gabriel to Portland of the Western Hockey League.
WHALE TEAM NOTES
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault leads Connecticut in scoring in the season series against Springfield with two goals and four assists for six points in three games played. He is also 5th in the league in rookie scoring with seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 21 games. He is currently on a five-game scoring streak collecting two goals and five assists in that span.
Kris Newbury returned to the Whale lineup last night after serving a four-game AHL suspension and he tallied his sixth goal of the year. Andre Deveaux also returned to Connecticut’s lineup after missing 11 games due to a recall to the NY Rangers.
Pavel Valentenko has two goals in his last three games. Mats Zuccarello has goals in back-to-back games entering tonight. Jordan Owens has four assists in his last two games.