'PINK IN THE RINK NIGHT' A SUCCESS AS FALCONS WIN IN SHOOTOUT
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (33-14-4-3) celebrated "Pink in the Rink Night presented by TD Bank" in style on Saturday night, overcoming an early deficit before outlasting the Providence Bruins (32-18-0-5) in a shootout, 2-1, in front of 5,669 fans at the MassMutual Center.
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The game was geared around generating support for the "Mary Kay Foundation," whose mission is to eliminate cancers affecting women and to end domestic abuse. Proceeds from a game-worn jersey auction on Saturday were donated to the cause.
The Falcons provided early pressure in Providence's end, but the Bruins exited the first period with a 1-0 lead. Matt Bartkowski connected with Bobby Robins to spring a Providence rush, and Jordan Caron darted to the net. Robins centered a puck to the back of Springfield netminder Allen York, and Caron arrived to tap the puck in at 7:21 to give Providence the game's first goal.
Springfield came back to tie the game in the second period on a play started by Andrew Joudrey along the end boards. Joudrey battled for the puck and flipped it high in the air to Scott Howes, who threaded a pass to Cody Bass in the slot. Bass snapped the puck with a one-timer past Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson, off the left post, and in at 12:38, tying the game, 1-1.
Scoring chances were few and far between in the third period, with the Falcons producing their best opportunities while on a penalty kill early in the stanza. Both York and Hutchinson set aside the seven combined shots in the final frame to send the game into overtime.
Providence had its most legitimate chance with 1:30 remaining in the extra session when Craig Cunningham broke into Springfield's end on a partial breakaway. David Savard flew into his defensive zone to break up Cunningham's potential winner, and the teams ventured into the shootout.
The Falcons notched the only two goals of the shootout, while York refused Providence's four attempts. Sean Collins wristed a puck past Hutchinson in the second round, while Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who one night earlier dazzled with a highlight-reel shootout conversion in a win over the Adirondack Phantoms, connected once again, this time with a snap shot.
York (8-5-0) made 20 saves and is perfect on all nine shootout bids he has faced this season. Hutchinson (6-11-3) stopped 24 shots, and was one of three in the shootout.
The Falcons added to their already sizeable Northeast Division lead, extending the gap to 14 points over the Connecticut Whale. Springfield is now two points behind the Syracuse Crunch with two games in hand for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Springfield, which swept a rare doubleheader on Friday over Adirondack, now has six points in two days and closes out the weekend on Sunday at home against the Worcester Sharks at 3:00 p.m. The first 1,000 fans into the building 12 and under will receive youth specialty Falcons jerseys from Dunkin Donuts. Following the game, fans can skate on the MassMutual Center ice with Falcons players. Fans are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the game to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
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 is 19 games over .500 for the first time since it ended the 1997-1998 season with a 45-26-7-2 record...The Falcons have won four-straight shootouts since losing their first three of the season and are 4-3 in the skills competition...York stopped all five shootout opportunities against Adirondack on Friday in the completion of a game initially started on Feb. 17...The Falcons allowed one goal or less for the 13th time this season...Springfield has killed off all seven shorthanded situations on the weekend, including four on Saturday...Collins is 2/3 in the shootout this season, while Audy-Marchessault is 2/4...Springfield has won three-straight games against Providence, and is 4-2-0-0 versus the Bruins this season