FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: OCT. 30
The Springfield Falcons (5-1-0-1), AHL affiliate of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, enter the fourth week of the 2012-2013 campaign in first place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points after equaling the best seven-game start in franchise history. Playing in its first three-in-three of the season this past weekend, Springfield captured five of six points, shutting out Providence on Friday and holding off Portland on Sunday while succumbing in a shootout to Bridgeport on Saturday.
The Falcons welcome the Hershey Bears to the MassMutual Center for the only time in 2012-2013 on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. The first 1,000 fans 12 and under in attendance will receive a free lunchbox courtesy of New England Pathology Associates. After an idle Saturday, Springfield closes out the weekend with the first of 12 meetings with the Connecticut Whale, as the Falcons head to the XL Center on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Single-game tickets to see the Falcons in 2012-2013 can be purchased at the MassMutual Center Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. through game time on Saturday home dates, and starting four hours prior to Sunday home contests. Fans can also purchase tickets by logging onto Ticketmaster.com.
Click here for Springfield's weekend highlights.
Click here for the Falcons' individual statistics.
Click here for the AHL standings.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Springfield 3, Providence 0
Friday, Oct. 26
Dunkin Donuts Center
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Curtis McElhinney notched his second shutout of the season, making 33 saves as Springfield blanked Providence on the road for the first time since Mar. 24, 2002. Cam Atkinson, Ryan Russell, and Matt Calvert scored for the Falcons in the 3-0 victory. Springfield's penalty kill rose to a bevy of challenges in the opening period, fighting off four Providence power plays to keep the game scoreless.
Bridgeport 3, Springfield 2 (SO)
Saturday, Oct. 27
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Making his 2012-2013 debut, Paul Dainton stopped 36 of 38 Sound Tigers shots as Springfield advanced to overtime and then a shootout for the first time this season. Cam Atkinson and Tomas Kubalik each connected in the second period to account for the Falcons' pair of tallies. In the shootout, Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, and Nick Drazenovic converted, but David Ullstrom's seventh-round goal was the difference, as Bridgeport prevailed, 3-2.
Springfield 3, Portland 2
Sunday, Oct. 28
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The Falcons struck early and often in the opening period of their weekend finale against the Pirates. Matt Calvert tipped in a Nick Drazenovic feed on the power play, Andrew Joudrey snapped in the Falcons' first short-handed marker of the season, and Ryan Johansen slid in a rebound as Springfield established a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Portland rallied with a pair of goals in the second period, but McElhinney allowed his former club to get no closer, as the Falcons closed out the three-in-three with two more points.
The Falcons take on the Bears in Western Mass. for the first time since Oct. 28, when Ryan Russell's goal 3:04 into overtime gave Springfield a 4-3 victory over Hershey. A pair of Springfield natives make their return to the area, as rookies T.J. Syner and Barry Almeida are both sporting Bears jerseys in 2012-2013.
Springfield and Connecticut finish the weekend on Sunday in Hartford. The Falcons are four points in front of the Whale in the Northeast Division standings entering the week. The Whale begin the weekend in Albany on Friday and, like the Falcons, are off on Saturday.
A GOOD SIGN
The Falcons began the 1995-1996 and 1997-1998 seasons with 5-1-1 records, and in both instances qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Springfield's 42 victories in 1995-1996 are a franchise record.
RED-HOT MCELHINNEY COOLING OFF OPPONENTS
Curtis McElhinney (5-1-0-0) is off to a blistering start, tying for the league lead with five victories and two shutouts through three weekends. McElhinney's save percentage of .949 ranks fifth in the league while his goals-against average of 1.51 checks in sixth. His two perfect outings in the initial five games demolished Springfield's previous team record of the fastest two shutouts to start a season (20 games, 1994-1995).
McElhinney, Paul Dainton, and the Falcons lead the AHL entering November with a club goals-against average of 1.71. Springfield has permitted just 12 goals in seven games, including two on Sunday to Portland, which entered the day leading the league at 4.83 goals scored/game.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Springfield's first short-handed goal of the season on Sunday came against a familiar foil. The Falcons last season scored nine times on the penalty kill in eight games against the Pirates. This season, Springfield took 16 minutes and 51 seconds to capitalize on a Portland man-advantage situation, when Andrew Joudrey deposited a wrist shot under the cross bar. The Falcons' goal is one of six of the short-handed variety relinquished by Portland in 2012-2013.
Along with the Peoria Rivermen and San Antonio Rampage, the Falcons are one of three AHL clubs who have not had a single player score more than one goal in a game this year. Springfield has 12 players who have accounted for its 21 goals through seven contests. Cam Atkinson and Ryan Johansen share the Falcon lead with three goals. Johansen's game-winning score on Sunday was his team-leading second of the campaign.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault paces the Falcons with seven points and five assists. The Quebec City native will face his former team in the Whale on Sunday for the first time since leading Connecticut with 64 points and 40 assists in 2011-2012. Audy-Marchessault produced 19 points (6g-13a) in 12 games with Connecticut against Springfield last season.
The Falcons have come to play early in games this season, outscoring their opponents 9-2 in the opening 20 minutes. Springfield had a 4-0 differential this past weekend in the first third of each game. The Falcons' 19 first-period shots on Sunday are tied for the most by any team in the initial stanza this season.
A MAJOR PLUS
After spending the majority of 2011-2012 in Columbus, John Moore has been a positive addition to the Falcons' blue line, as the third-year pro is tied for second in the AHL with a +8 rating.