FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: FEB. 4
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (27-11-3-3) won both games coming out of the All-Star break to take over first place in the Eastern Conference and the top record in the AHL entering the 18th week of the 2012-2013 season. The Falcons defeated the Syracuse Crunch, 5-3, on Friday in Springfield before venturing to Hartford and beating the Connecticut Whale, 3-2, on Saturday. Springfield is two points in front of the Binghamton Senators for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and has a 13-point edge in the Northeast Division over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Falcons are back in action next Friday, Feb. 8, as Springfield welcomes the Albany Devils to The Nest at 7:00 p.m., presented by Mohawk Communications. Fans in attendance have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
Springfield closes out the upcoming weekend on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3:00 p.m. when it hosts the Portland Pirates. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Falcons baseball hat, courtesy of the University of New Haven.
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 the Falcons' individual statistics.
Click here for the AHL standings.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Springfield 5, Syracuse 3
Friday, Feb. 1
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In a highly-anticipated matchup that saw teams with two of the league's top three records square off for the first time this season, Springfield prevailed in its most physical game of the year, a contest that included five fighting majors. Curtis McElhinney's play was critical in the opening half of the game, as the Crunch opened up a 20-6 shots advantage before the Falcons began generating consistent pressure in Syracuse's end. Ryan Craig's goal on a five-on-three power play 42 seconds into the second period put the Falcons up, 1-0. After Brett Connolly found the back of the net for Syracuse for a power-play tally of his own, the Falcons broke away from the Crunch with three-straight goals. Cody Goloubef and Michael Chaput both scored from the slot at 10:46 and 12:51 of the middle stanza, while Craig struck shorthanded following the halfway point of the third to increase Springfield's lead to 4-1. The Crunch fought back late with two more power-play conversions from J.T. Wyman and Alex Killorn, reducing Springfield's advantage to 4-3. Chaput put the game away with an empty-net goal in the final minute. McElhinney set aside 34 of 37 shots for his 18th victory of the season and first since Jan. 6.
Springfield 3, Connecticut 2
Saturday, Feb. 2
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The Falcons quieted the Connecticut Whale and the second-largest crowd in the franchise's 16-year history of 13,239 fans on Saturday night, opening a three-goal lead before hanging on in the final moments for a 3-2 win. Tomas Kubalik jammed a puck past Cam Talbot at 8:09 of the first to put the Falcons up, 1-0. Cody Goloubef blasted in a shot from the top of the left circle on a five-on-three man advantage in the second to make it 2-0, and then Nick Drazenovic scored on the power play early in the third, as Springfield increased its cushion to 3-0. The Whale battled back to make it a one-goal contest, as Brandon Mashinter and J.T. Miller connected at 9:50 and 11:23 of the third. Curtis McElhinney posted his second win of the weekend with a 33-save performance.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, Bubble Hockey at Pasquale's in East Longmeadow with Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 8, Springfield vs. Albany, 7:00 p.m., MassMutual Center
Saturday, Feb. 9, 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y, Outside of Big E Coliseum
Sunday, Feb. 10, Springfield vs. Portland, 3:00 p.m., MassMutual Center
Tuesday, Feb. 12, Springfield at Bridgeport, 7:00 p.m., Webster Bank Arena
ASCENDING TO THE TOP
The Falcons took the recalls of All-Stars Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Tim Erixon to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday in stride and swept both of their games on the weekend take over the Eastern Conference's top spot. Springfield is tied with the Texas Stars for the most points in the league (60) and has the AHL's best points percentage (.682). The Falcons are on pace to earn 104 points this season, which would break their team record of 100, set in 1995-1996. Springfield is on pace to compile 47 wins, which would beat the club mark of 45 victories, accomplished in 1997-1998. Both of those records were set in 80-game seasons, and the Falcons are within reach of each mark in this 76-game campaign.
Nick Drazenovic had three assists in Friday's game and a goal and an assist Saturday to post five points (1g-4a) on the weekend. The sixth-year pro moved into a tie for fourth in the league in scoring with 43 points (15g-28a) and is two shy of Jonathan Audy-Marchessault's team-leading 45 points. Drazenovic posted his sixth game-winning goal of the year on Saturday and is tied for first in the AHL in that category. The Prince George, British Columbia native also has a share of the league lead with 25 points on the power play (9g-16a).
STEERING THE SHIP
Captain Ryan Craig scored twice in Friday's win over Syracuse, registering Springfield's first goal early in the second and the shorthanded game winner midway through the third. Craig jumped over Scott Levins into eighth in Falcons history with 53 goals scored in a Springfield sweater. The 10th-year pro is tied with Tavis Hansen for fourth in Falcons history with 25 power-play goals and is just four off of the all-time record of 29 man-advantage conversions, set by both Danny Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel.
'GOAL'ABEF GETS GOING
Cody Goloubef scored in each of the Falcons' wins this weekend to double his goal production on the season. Goloubef struck around the halfway point of each contest for his third and fourth conversions of 2012-2013. The third-year pro is one shy of his career high of five goals, set over 50 contests in 2010-2011. Goloubef has four over 10 games since returning from an injury on Jan. 11 that kept him sidelined for two months.
COMING UP BIG
Curtis McElhinney made 34 and 33 saves on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and now has 19 wins on the season. He began the week by leading all goaltenders at the AHL All-Star Game with 15 saves on 16 shots in the second period of the Western Conference's eventual 7-6 win over the Eastern Conference. McElhinney continues to top the league with a Falcons-record six shutouts, is third with 19 victories, is sixth with a .926 save percentage, and is 10th with a 2.30 goals-against average.
CHAPUT STARTS OFF STRONG
Michael Chaput produced two goals on Friday to begin the month of February on a good note after leading all AHL rookies in scoring during January. Chaput had 12 points (4g-8a) during the opening month of 2013 and has 20 points (8g-12a) on the year to pace Springfield's first-year skaters.
MACLEOD STEPS UP
Wade MacLeod had his biggest impact of the season on Friday, recording a season-high two points (0g-2a) and eight shots in the win over Syracuse.
Tomas Kubalik leads Springfield with a +16 rating, putting him into a tie for fifth in the AHL in that department. He scored his 12th goal of the season on Saturday.
'JAM' RECEIVES HONOR
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for January on Friday. Audy-Marchessault led all skaters during the first month of 2013 with 17 points (8g-9a) and collected his first pro hat trick on Jan. 15 in Manchester. The second-year pro made his NHL debut on Thursday for the Blue Jackets and is scoreless in two games with Columbus. Audy-Marchessault is the first Falcon to receive the CCM/AHL Player of the Month honor since the award originated in 2007-2008.
'TWO' GOOD OF A POWER PLAY
The Falcons scored two goals on the man advantage in each of their wins last weekend and are just percentage points shy of Texas for the third-best power play in the league at 21.8%. Springfield has scored on the man advantage in 33 of its 44 games on the season and has two power-play conversions in each of the last three contests.
NOT GIVING IN
Springfield played in two physical games on the weekend that involved a combined 13 fighting major penalties, but the club continued to stay calm despite the aggressive nature of each contest. The Falcons are the only team in the league that has not taken a 10-minute misconduct this season and are one of four clubs without a game misconduct.
ADDING TO THE ADVANTAGE
Springfield's league-leading goal differential bubbled to +41 over the weekend. The next closest AHL team in that category is Binghamton, which has outscored its opponents by 29 goals this year.
LOVING THE LEAD
The Falcons are 22-1-0-0 on the season when leading after two periods.
Springfield plays its first Sunday contest in three weeks when Portland comes to town on Feb. 10. The Falcons are 9-1-0-0 in Sunday competition this season.
BLUE JACKETS DEFEAT RED WINGS
The Columbus Blue Jackets prevailed with a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night for their third victory of the season. The Blue Jackets recalled defenseman Nick Holden from Springfield on Sunday. Four of Columbus' six healthy blueliners wore a Falcons sweater this season (Holden, Tim Erixon, John Moore, David Savard). The Blue Jackets host the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings, on Tuesday, the Calgary Flames on Thursday, and the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
A GOOD CAUSE
Chris Collins and Scott Howes scooped ice cream at Friendly's on Boston Road in Springfield last Thursday to benefit the Easter Seals. To view photos from the event, click here.
FALCONS PLAYERS TO KICK OFF BUBBLE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT TUESDAY
Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout will challenge fans to games of bubble hockey at Pasquale's Restaurant & Tavern in East Longmeadow on Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the 2013 Labatt Blue AHL Bubble Hockey Tournament of Champions.
Entry is free, and no purchase is necessary. Players must be 21 or older to participate.
Complete details of this second-annual event, including a full schedule of tournament dates and locations in and around Springfield, will be announced later this week.
BIG Y 24-HOUR OUTDOOR GAME STARTS SATURDAY
Hockey players young and old are invited to participate in the 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y, which will take place behind the historic Coliseum on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield from Saturday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 10.
A unique event that brings hockey back to its roots, The 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y honors the history of the sport in Western Mass. and raises awareness for the area's youth programs and adult hockey leagues.
Groups are invited to sign up for one hour of hockey, with time slots beginning at noon on Feb. 9 and lasting through noon on Feb. 10. Adult teams will play two-on-two games, while youth teams will play three-on-three. Pond hockey rules apply to all contests.
All players in the 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y receive two tickets to the Falcons game against Portland this Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
On-ice games are weather permitting, and there are no refunds for weather-related cancellations. If ice is not available, teams will play on a ball-hockey arena in proximity to the outdoor rink.
To register for the 24-Hour Outdoor Hockey Game, contact Don Moorhouse through email at email@example.com or by phone at (413) 739-GOAL ext. 102. Upon registering, participants will receive information on completing payment.
LOCK IN YOUR SEAT FOR 2013-2014
Falcons fans are invited to reserve their ticket packages for the 2013-2014 season. Fans can to stop by "Ticket Headquarters" behind section 31 at The Nest during any Springfield home game to lock in their spot for the Falcons' 20th AHL season.
Adult season ticket prices remain the same for 2013-2014, giving fans the opportunity to watch the Falcons compete in all 38 home contests at the MassMutual Center for only $13/game. Season ticket packages in 2013-2014 will come with a no-waste guarantee, giving fans the opportunity to exchange their unused tickets for future home games. Fans can also take advantage of 22 and 10-game ticket packages next season.
The Falcons will also continue to offer flex packages for fans who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each contest. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20, and 12-ticket plans.
Youth ticket packages and flex plans are also available in 2013-2014 for children ages 14 and under.
A $50 non-refundable deposit per seat is required.
HAVE SCREECH TREAT YOUR SWEETHEART ON VALENTINE'S DAY
Falcons fans are invited to have their favorite mascot, Screech, deliver a Falcons-themed Valentine's Day gift to a special someone.
For $125, Screech will deliver a special Valentine's Day package to a home, office, or school within a 15-mile radius of Springfield on Wednesday, Feb. 13 or Thursday, Feb. 14. The package includes flowers from Durocher Florist of West Springfield with a balloon as well as a pair of ticket vouchers for any Falcons home game for the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.
This package is great for any Falcons fan who would get a thrill out of having Screech turn into their Cupid on Valentine's Day. Supplies are limited and are offered on a first come, first serve basis. The package can be ordered until the end of business on Monday, Feb. 11.
To have Screech treat your sweetheart on Valentine's Day contact Sarah Pompea at the Falcons office by phone at (413) 739-GOAL ext. 112 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXCITING PROMOTIONS HIGHLIGHT UPCOMING MONTH
The Falcons and their valued sponsors have teamed up to offer fans some exciting giveaway items at home games over the next month at the MassMutual Center. Giveaways include a baseball cap, a winter hat, and a team poster. For information on giveaways and promotions at The Nest over the next month, click here.
NOMINATE A HERO AMONG US
Throughout the season, fans can submit a nomination for TD Bank's "Heroes Among Us" program. Nominees can include teachers, doctors, firefighters, community volunteers, and other individuals you think deserve to be honored at a Falcons game. For more information and to nominate, click here.
SHOP AT THE FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP
Fans can purchase their favorite team gear and apparel at the Falcons Nest Pro Shop, located inside the team office at 45 Falcons Way, during normal business hours or online by clicking here.
The Tower Square location of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop is also open for the remainder of the season 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday and Thursday.
The Tower Square venue, located at 1500 Main St. in downtown Springfield, gives fans a chance to browse a wide variety of Falcons merchandise and ticket packages in a popular downtown location.
The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.
FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TOWER SQUARE STORE HOURS
Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.