FALCONS EXTEND WINNING STREAK TO SIX, DISPATCH DEVILS
Albany, N.Y. - The Springfield Falcons (25-9-3-3) increased their winning streak to six games on Wednesday night at the Times Union Center, receiving goals from four different skaters before prevailing with a 4-2 victory over the Albany Devils (15-14-1-8).
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Springfield's winning streak is the third-longest in team history and is the lengthiest since it posted a franchise-record nine-consecutive victories from Mar. 6 to 28, 1998. The Falcons took over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference and the league with the win, upping their point total to 56 through 40 contests (.700).
While scoring opportunities were sparse between the two clubs in the opening period, the Falcons emerged from the frame with a 1-0 lead. Cody Goloubef took a pass from Ryan Craig, wristed the puck from the right point, and sailed it over the stick of Albany goaltender Jeff Frazee at 8:45. Tomas Kubalik's screen of Frazee proved critical and allowed Goloubef's shot to reach the net.
Springfield extended its edge early in the second. Michael Chaput corralled a feed from Craig, skated in front of the net, delayed as Frazee went down, and then lifted the puck in from the bottom of the right circle, making it 2-0 at 4:39.
The Falcons embarked moments later on a power play, but the Devils capitalized on a shorthanded two-on-one rush. Mike Sislo stole the puck in Albany's end, zipped into the Falcons' zone, and fired a shot by Springfield netminder Allen York at 5:20 to put the Devils on the board, 2-1.
After Springfield skated the first 38 games of the season without a penalty-shot attempt, Ryan Russell earned his second opportunity in as many outings following the midway point of the contest. Russell drew two infractions on Roman Hrabarenka on a breakaway toward Frazee, with the latter call leading to the penalty shot. On his attempt, Russell hit the left post, as the score held still at 2-1.
The Falcons made the most of another point-blank chance seconds later, as Scott Howes sped out from behind the net to the slot and snapped a puck by Frazee at 14:27, adding to Springfield's cushion, 3-1. The goal was Howes' first as a Falcon in his third game with the club.
Springfield's penalty kill was put to the test late in the second, but the Falcons prevented the Devils from keeping the puck in their offensive end. Sean Collins went on a partial breakaway while shorthanded, but Frazee came up with a glove save, and the Falcons exited the second up two goals.
The Falcons inflated their lead to 4-1 early in the third, as Kubalik followed up a rebound from his own shot by sneaking a puck just under the crossbar from the right circle at 1:34.
Joe Whitney picked off a pass at the top of the crease in Springfield's end and chipped the puck by York at 5:02, making it a 4-2 contest.
Springfield held off Albany over the final three quarters of the third to complete the victory.
York (5-3-0) posted his fourth-consecutive win, making 25 saves. Frazee (3-7-4) stopped 29 of Springfield's 33 shots.
In addition to extending their winning streak to six games, Springfield upped its points streak to eight contests (7-0-1-0) for the fourth time in franchise history, and first since March of 1998. The Falcons have not lost in regulation since Jan. 5 in Albany.
Springfield will try to match the second-longest winning streak in team history and equal the longest point streak in the franchise's 19 years on Friday at the MassMutual Center, when it hosts the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 p.m. The first 1,000 fans into the building 12 and under will receive a youth specialty Falcons jersey, courtesy of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. Fans in attendance on Friday will also have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
The Falcons end their weekend in Connecticut on Saturday against the Whale at the XL Center.
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).
Springfield's .700 points percentage is the best in the AHL...The Falcons now lead the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by 14 points for first place in the Northeast Division...Springfield's eight-game point streak is the longest since its franchise-record nine-game point streak, set during the nine-game winning streak in March of 1998...The Falcons are 16-games over .500 for the first time since ending the 1997-1998 season with a 45-26-7-2 mark...Springfield's 11-game power-play goal-scoring streak came to an end, as the Falcons were unable to convert on the man advantage for the first time since Dec. 27...Jonathan Audy-Marchessault's seven-game point streak (7g-7a)...Nick Drazenovic's three-game goal streak and five-game point streak (3g-8a) ended as well...The Falcons improved to 14-4-2-0 on the road this season...The teams were a combined 0/11 on the power play...The win was Springfield's first in regulation against Albany since Oct. 8, 2011