FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: NOV. 19
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (10-2-0-2) completed a two-game sweep on the road of the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday to emerge from the sixth week of the AHL's regular season with a share of both first place in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the league with the Syracuse Crunch. Off to a team-record start, the Falcons play their second three-in-three stretch of the season this week, closing out their four-game road trip on Friday in Portland when they take on the Pirates before returning to the MassMutual Center to welcome the Manchester Monarchs to town on Saturday and then finishing off the weekend at home against the Connecticut Whale on Sunday.
Saturday's game is "Movember Night presented by Baystate Health." The first 1,000 fans into the building that evening will receive mustaches as part of an effort to generate awareness of prostate cancer and other male illnesses. Falcons players have been gearing up for this night all month by growing mustaches. To donate to Movember on behalf of the Falcons as they attempt to reach their goal of $1,000, click here. Fans can also win a free bicycle on "Cycle Saturday" as part of a season-long Saturday-night bike giveaway by Gus Coelho Auto Repair, located at 442 Holyoke Street in Ludlow.
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. For information about discounted group packages to Falcons home games, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
Click here for highlights from the Falcons' win on Friday.
Click here for highlights from the Falcons' win on Saturday.
Click here for the Falcons' individual statistics.
Click here for the AHL standings.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2, Springfield 1
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Click here for the box score.
The Falcons' streaks of three-straight wins and seven-consecutive games with at least a point came to an end, as Springfield suffered just its second regulation defeat of 2012-2013. Beau Bennett's pair of second-period tallies proved to be all the offense the Penguins needed, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Jeff Zatkoff allowed one goal on Springfield's 26 shots for the 2-1 win. Tomas Kubalik's redirect of a Nick Holden shot with 1:43 left in the game helped the Falcons avoid being shut out for the first time this season. Reigning CCM/AHL Player of the Week Curtis McElhinney set aside 30 of 32 shots, as Springfield went without a point for the first time since Oct. 20.
Springfield 3, Norfolk 2
Friday, Nov. 16
Click here for the box score.
The Falcons bounced back from Wednesday's loss with a 3-2 win over the Admirals. Trailing 2-1 in the second period, Springfield rallied to take the lead for good, as Cam Atkinson struck on the power play at 10:54 and while short handed at 15:22 for the one-goal advantage. Curtis McElhinney was put to the test in the third period, making 20 stops as part of a season-high 36 saves to clinch the two-point outing. The Falcons' penalty kill shut down the Admirals' power play on eight of nine chances, including a four-for-four performance in the final frame. Sean Collins registered his first goal of the season and second of his career in the win.
Springfield 5, Norfolk 2
Saturday, Nov. 17
Click here for the box score.
Paul Dainton made his second start of the season and first in three weeks, turning aside 33 of 35 shots to secure his first victory of 2012-2013. Dalton Smith's goal 4:51 into the action to establish an early Springfield lead was the only one scored by a Falcon forward. John Moore was one of four Falcon defensemen to light the lamp, and his goal at 19:39 of the opening frame provided Springfield with a permanent lead. Tim Erixon snapped in a shot from the slot at 5:29 of the second to make it 3-1. After the Admirals closed to within a goal, Nick Holden fired a puck past Norfolk netminder Igor Bobkov from the left circle with 5:52 to go in the game, giving the Falcons insurance and a 4-2 cushion. David Savard sent in a short-handed empty-net goal with 3:01 remaining, closing out the 5-2 win. Springfield clinched the season series against Norfolk, improving to 3-0-0-0 against the Admirals in 2012-2013.
Friday, Nov. 23 - Springfield at Portland, 7:00 p.m., Cumberland County Civic Center
Saturday, Nov. 24 - Springfield vs. Manchester, 7:00 p.m., MassMutual Center
Sunday, Nov. 25 - Springfield vs. Connecticut, 3:00 p.m., MassMutual Centetr
Springfield heads to Portland for the first of three games at the Cumberland County Civic Center this season on Friday, before kicking off the first of six battles with Manchester on Saturday. The Falcons will close out the weekend against Connecticut on Sunday, as Springfield attempts to up its record against its chief rival to 3-0-0-0 on the campaign.
FALCONS MAINTAIN RECORD PACE
The 22 points accumulated by the Falcons through 14 games are the most in franchise history and are one ahead of the 21 Springfield collected through the initial fortnight of contests in 1997-1998, a season in which it posted a club-record 45 wins. The Falcons are currently on pace to win 54 games and garner 119 points, both of which would be franchise marks.
TWO GOALS OR LESS
The Falcons have allowed fewer than three goals in regulation in 13 of their 14 games this season, and have permitted a total of 23 opposing tallies factoring in the two shootout losses. Springfield's 23 goals allowed are the fewest by any team, and the club's 1.64 goals-against average is the lowest in the AHL. The Falcons are on pace to relinquish 125 goals this season, 15 fewer than the current record of 140, notched by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2003-2004.
Curtis McElhinney continues to stay atop the league in wins (9) and shutouts (4), while checking in second in save percentage (.953) and goals-against average (1.41). He was featured on Monday in an article by ESPN.com's Scott Burnside, available by clicking here.
With McElhinney receiving a rare night off on Saturday, Paul Dainton stepped in and delivered his second strong effort of 2012-2013. Like McElhinney did with his 20-save third-period effort on Friday, Dainton came up clutch in Saturday's final frame. The second-year pro stopped all 14 shots, as the Falcons clung to a one-goal lead for the majority of the period before Nick Holden provided breathing room late. Dainton has allowed four goals on 73 shots this season in two starts.
Much of the Falcons' success has derived from their ability to take the lead and not look back. Springfield has points in 10 of 11 games when punching in the opening goal (8-1-0-2), and has not lost this season when leading after the first or second period. The Falcons are 7-0-0-0 when carrying an advantage over into the second period, and are 9-0-0-0 when up by at least a goal at the start of the final frame.
KEEPING IT SHORT
The Falcons posted short-handed goals in back-to-back games this weekend, with Cam Atkinson and David Savard both striking with Springfield down a man. Springfield has three short-handed goals this season, and is one of five clubs to have not given up a goal while on the power play (Oklahoma City, Texas, Chicago, Binghamton). Savard is tied for first among AHL defensemen with two short-handed points. His goal on the penalty kill on Saturday was the third-year pro's first conversion of the season. The empty netter by Savard was the Falcons' first of the season and most recent since Wade MacLeod located a gaping cage on Apr. 13, 2012 versus Adirondack.
LIGHTS OUT PENALTY KILL
With a five-for-five effort on the penalty kill on Saturday, the Falcons rose to second in the league in that department (74/82, 90.2%). Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Norfolk scored just once on 15 power-play opportunities over the three games last week. How important is a strong penalty kill? The top three teams in terms of points percentage comprise three of the top four penalty kills in the AHL, with the Abbotsford Heat leading the league and the Syracuse Crunch sitting in fourth in that category.
ERIXON ETCHES CAREER HIGH
Tim Erixon collected his fourth goal of the season on Saturday, one more than he posted during his entire rookie campaign of 2011-2012 with the Connecticut Whale and the New York Rangers.
The Falcons' goal differential of +26 (49-23) is the highest in the league, +7 ahead of the second-place Charlotte Checkers.
'JAM' SETS THE BAR
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault's +12 rating is the highest in the league. Ryan Johansen and Tomas Kubalik are tied for second at +10 with three other skaters.
Audy-Marchessault leads the Falcons with 15 points and 10 assists.
CAM CRUSHES ADMIRALS
In three games against Norfolk, Cam Atkinson has six points (2g-4a). Atkinson's two-goal effort on Saturday gave him six total on the season, putting him into a tie with Nick Drazenovic for the team lead.
BIDDING ON HOMETOWN HEROES JERSEYS ENDS TUESDAY
Falcons fans can bid now on game-worn jerseys from the club's 2-0 victory over the Connecticut Whale on Hometown Heroes Night presented by MGM Springfield, which took place at the MassMutual Center on Friday, Nov. 9.
The jerseys of Curtis McElhinney, Matt Calvert, Dalton Prout, and David Savard are currently up for auction, with bidding ending on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 20. This American-flag style jersey is decorated with stars and stripes on the sleeves, front, and back of the sweater to commemorate the theme of the Nov. 9 game.
Fans can access the auction through the Falcons' eBay store, available by clicking here.
DUNKIN DONUTS HOLIDAY HAT-TRICK PACKAGES ON SALE
The Dunkin Donuts Holiday Hat-Trick Package, an $80 value for only $40, is on sale now and includes two Falcons flex tickets (good for use at any Springfield home game during the remainder of the 2012-2013 season), two hats, and two $5 Dunkin Donuts gift cards. This limited-time offer, which comes packaged in a Dunkin Donuts Munchkins container, makes for a great holiday gift for friends and family.
Fans can purchase this package at the F.L. Roberts Fan Relations Center, online at the team store by clicking here, or by calling the Falcons team offices at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FALCONS BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY DEALS
The Falcons are offering huge savings on tickets and merchandise on Black Friday, Nov. 23, and Cyber Monday, Nov. 26.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Black Friday, fans can purchase $12 tickets to the Falcons' home games on Thursday, Dec. 27 against the Albany Devils and Sunday, Dec. 30 versus the Norfolk Admirals, a savings of 40% off the box-office price. To take advantage of this Black Friday ticket special, fans can click on the Black Friday ticket link on FalconsAHL.com or call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) and speak to Sean West. All Falcons merchandise, including jerseys, will be discounted by 30% on Black Friday as well at the team store, located inside the team office at 45 Falcons Way. Fans who spend $100 or more that day will also be entered into a raffle to win a game-worn jersey from Hometown Heroes Night presented by MGM Springfield. Merchandise purchases must be made in person to receive the price reduction.
During all 24 hours of Cyber Monday, $12 tickets to Springfield's games on Dec. 27 and 30 will be available by clicking on the Cyber Monday ticket link on FalconsAHL.com and using the promo code "FALCONS." Team merchandise will also be available at a 30%-off rate through the club's online store all day. Fans must use the code "CYBERMONDAY" to take advantage of this merchandise offer.
The first 20 people to purchase the Black Friday or Cyber Monday ticket specials will have the opportunity to watch the teams warm up from the penalty box on the night of the respective game.