FALCONS SHUT OUT FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON
Syracuse, N.Y. - The Springfield Falcons (30-13-4-3) ran into strong netminding by Cedrick Desjardins and were unable to score a goal for the first time in nearly a calendar year on Saturday night at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena, enduring a 3-0 loss to the Syracuse Crunch (32-14-2-4).
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Falcons goaltender Allen York made a career-high 43 stops, but Syracuse prevailed with three third-period goals to maintain its position ahead of Springfield atop the Eastern Conference standings.
York was forced to earn his money in the first period, as the Crunch outshot the Falcons, 11-4. The second-year pro set aside all 11 tries and helped Springfield kill off two penalties, as the teams emerged from the initial stanza deadlocked.
Springfield's offense generated more pressure in the second period, but Desjardins turned back each of the Falcons' 14 shots, including their two best chances of the middle frame. Ryan Russell took a feed from Ryan Johansen and snapped a puck toward the net from the slot with 13:40 left, but Desjardins made a glove save. Desjardins sprawled and got his left pad on a Jake Hansen redirect of a Dalton Smith pass with 5:40 to go, thwarting Springfield's most legitimate bid of the period.
York was equally as good at the other end of the rink, stopping 18 shots in the second. His biggest sequence came on a Syracuse three-on-two rush with five minutes remaining. York deflected J.T. Brown's shot from the left circle, and responded with another save on Mike Angelidis' rebound opportunity, and the game remained scoreless heading into the third.
The Crunch came out of the gate buzzing in the final session with the first nine shots and finally cracked York and the Falcons. After being denied by York on a centering chance moments earlier, Mark Barberio stickhandled to the side of the net and tucked the puck just inside the right post at 4:37, as Syracuse took a 1-0 lead.
Springfield went on its first power play of the game minutes later with Pierre-Cedric Labrie in for delay of game, but Desjardins helped preserve the Crunch's cushion when he stopped Johansen's shot from in tight.
Labrie exited the box, corralled a puck along the left-wing boards, cut behind the net, and wrapped it by York's left pad and in at 12:35, extending Syracuse's edge to 2-0.
Desjardins kept Syracuse's advantage at two goals when he denied Russell on a rebound attempt from the bottom of the left circle with 4:21 remaining.
Springfield brought York to the bench for the extra attacker in the contest's final moments, and J.T. Brown iced the game with an empty netter at 19:33, making it 3-0.
The Falcons underwent their first shutout defeat since Mar. 9, 2012 when they fell to the Manchester Monarchs, 3-0.
York (6-5-0) allowed two goals on 45 shots and made saves on each of Syracuse's first 37 offers. Desjardins (9-13-2) collected his first shutout in a Syracuse sweater after joining the club from the Hamilton Bulldogs in a trade last week. He made 26 saves.
Springfield's Northeast Division lead dropped to 10 points with four games in hand over the Connecticut Whale following the conclusion of Saturday's play.
The Falcons venture to Worcester to meet the Sharks on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Springfield returns to the MassMutual Center to host Adirondack next Friday, concluding its suspended Feb. 17 contest at 6:05 p.m. before playing a full-game versus the Phantoms at 7:30 p.m. The Falcons welcome Providence to The Nest on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and finish their home three-in-three on Sunday, taking on the Sharks at 3:00 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).
The closest the Falcons had come to being shutout this season prior to tonight was on Nov. 14 in a 2-1 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Tomas Kubalik posted Springfield's only goal with 1:43 remaining in that contest...Springfield played its second game of the season Saturday that was scoreless after 40 minutes...The Falcons' meeting with Connecticut also went without a goal through two periods before Tim Erixon scored twice in a 2-0 win on Nov. 9...The point streaks of Ryan Craig (nine games, 4g-7a), Ryan Johansen (seven games, 5g-4a), and Cody Goloubef (three games, 3g-1a) all ended...Craig's six-game road assist streak (0g-10a) also ceased...Springfield and Syracuse split the season series...The Falcons defeated the Crunch at the MassMutual Center on Feb. 1, 5-3...Springfield was perfect on the penalty kill for the sixth time in the last seven full games, going 3/3...The Falcons are 32/33 on the kill (including the Feb. 17 suspended game) since allowing three Syracuse power-play goals on Feb. 1