FALCONS ONE-UPPED BY WHALE
Hartford, Conn. - The Springfield Falcons (25-11-3-3) started slowly, put together a late charge, but ultimately fell a goal shy of the Connecticut Whale (20-20-3-1) on Saturday night at the XL Center, undergoing a 3-2 defeat in the final contest before the AHL's All-Star break.
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The loss was Springfield's first in Connecticut this season, as the Falcons' lead over the Whale in the Northeast Division closed to 12 points.
The Whale went on the power play just six seconds into the game when Tomas Kubalik was whistled for roughing, and they made the most of the opportunity to capture the early lead. With Kubalik jumping back on the ice at the end of his penalty but the Whale working with the puck in Springfield's end, Andrew Yogan chipped in a rebound on the doorstep off a Logan Pyett shot at 2:08, as Connecticut went up, 1-0.
The Whale continued to control the play early, putting 10 shots on goaltender Allen York before Springfield could get a puck on Connecticut netminder Cam Talbot. The Falcons found their legs later in the frame, as Michael Chaput and Scott Howes each had good scoring chances on Talbot. Connecticut, though, exited the first period with the lone tally.
The Falcons battled back in the second period to tie the contest with a power-play tally. Ryan Craig took a feed in the right circle from Nick Drazenovic, cut to the net, and jammed a shot on Talbot. The puck deflected into the air, and Drazenovic batted it in from the crease at 8:20, making it 1-1.
Connecticut responded with a pair of conversions to close out the middle frame.
Blake Parlett's right-point blast deflected off of York, sat in the crease, and was inadvertently put into Springfield's net by the glove of a Falcons defenseman at 13:16, as Connecticut jumped back ahead, 2-1.
The Whale gained a five-on-three power-play chance late in the second and capitalized on the two-man advantage. Kris Newbury rocketed a puck off of York from the right circle, and Mike Vernace snapped in the rebound from the slot at 19:44, as Connecticut closed out the second period up, 3-1.
Springfield ignited its comeback bid after the halfway point of the third period, scoring for the second time of the game on the power play. Howes skated free in the slot, wristed a puck on Talbot, charged the cage, and swept in the rebound at 13:22 for his third goal in as many contests, as Connecticut's edge dwindled to 3-2.
The Falcons continued to pressure the Whale down the stretch, as Springfield outshot Connecticut in the final stanza, 14-5. With the extra attacker on the ice for Springfield in the final moments of the contest, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had a chance in the slot off a centering pass from Drazenovic, but Talbot answered with a save, and the Whale emerged victorious, 3-2.
York (5-4-0) permitted three goals on 33 shots. Talbot (15-17-0) turned aside 26 of Springfield's 28 bids.
The Falcons return home after the All-Star break to host the Syracuse Crunch for the only time in 2012-2013 on Friday, Feb. 1 at the MassMutual Center, with the game presented by Pride Stations & Stores. Fans in attendance on Friday will have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
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).
The Falcons had outscored the Whale in the first two meetings at the XL Center this season, 15-2, but Springfield dropped its first game in Hartford since Feb. 17, 2012...Springfield's road winning streak ended at three contests, while its away points streak ceases at five games...Audy-Marchessault had an assist on Drazenovic's goal, his 12th point (1g-11a) versus Connecticut in 2012-2013...He leads AHL skaters in January with 17 points (8g-9a)...Craig's assist was his 14th point (4g-10a) of the month, placing him second in the league...Springfield scored twice on the power play after going scoreless on the man advantage in consecutive outings...The Falcons closed out the month of January with a record of 8-3-1-0...Springfield trails Binghamton by two points for first place in the Eastern Conference