PIRATES' LATE GOALS SINK FALCONS
Portland, Maine - The Portland Pirates (16-10-1-1) used a pair of goals 26 seconds apart in the third period on Wednesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center to come from behind and defeat the Springfield Falcons (15-6-2-3), 3-2.
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Despite holding a late edge, Springfield fell for the first time in 2012-2013 when leading after two periods and suffered its second nail-biting loss in Portland this season. The Falcons also dropped a 6-5 overtime decision in Maine on Nov. 23.
Andy Miele posted Portland's first goal just 1:58 into the opening period, lifting a puck over Falcons goaltender Allen York to generate a 1-0 lead.
Springfield fought back later in the opening frame, beating Pirates netminder Mark Visentin twice to exit the first stanza with a 2-1 advantage.
At 7:26, David Savard took a short feed in the right circle from Nick Drazenovic and snapped a puck off of Visentin and just over the goal line to tie the contest.
Nifty passing and creative stickhandling led to the Falcons' go-ahead conversion. Cam Atkinson brought a puck out of his end and skated toward the Portland zone down the left-wing side. Atkinson dropped the puck past a pair of Pirates to Tim Erixon, who proceeded to the left circle in Portland territory. Erixon fed Ryan Johansen, who cut to Visentin from the left goal line, brought the puck to his forehand, and slid it through the goaltender's pads to put Springfield in front.
Following a scoreless second period, the Falcons appeared to be in good shape past the halfway point of the third, with York making several critical saves in his second AHL appearance of the season.
The Pirates cracked York, however, solving him twice on consecutive shots to turn a deficit into a permanent lead.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson corralled a Chris Brown feed at the top of the left circle and fired a shot by York at 14:29, evening the game, 2-2.
Miele forced a turnover in Springfield's end moments later and left the puck in the right circle for Brett Hextall, who snapped his shot in at 14:55, as Portland snatched the 3-2 advantage.
Springfield could not turn the momentum back in its favor in the final minutes of the contest, undergoing just its third road regulation defeat of the campaign.
York (0-2-0) stopped 29 of 32 shots. Visentin (5-6-1) needed just 20 saves to collect his second victory against the Falcons this season.
Springfield's Northeast Division lead was reduced to six points on Wednesday after the Bridgeport Sound Tigers knocked off the Albany Devils, 4-3.
After venturing to Hershey to battle the Bears on Saturday, the Falcons return home on Thursday, Dec. 27 to host the Albany Devils at the MassMutual Center 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. For information about discounted group packages to Falcons home games, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
Atkinson has points in nine-straight games (7g-7a), the longest current AHL point streak and the lengthiest by a Falcon this season...He became the third AHL player to reach 30 points this season on the play and was +2 despite the loss...Springfield dropped to 13-1-0-0 when leading after two periods this season...The loss was the Falcons' first when leading after two since Mar. 25, 2012 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Springfield remained two points behind the Syracuse Crunch for first place in the Eastern Conference...Savard's goal was his first since Nov. 23 in Portland...Johansen's goal was his career-best 10th...He is second on the club in that department...Springfield was 0/5 on the power play, while Portland was 0/4