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FALCONS WEEKLY NOTES: DECEMBER 9

12/09/2013 12:59 PM -
 
The Springfield Falcons (16-4-1-1) won two of its three games last week, falling to the Albany Devils Wednesday and topping the Hartford Wolf Pack on back-to-back nights Saturday and Sunday. The Falcons have won nine of their last 11 games and earned at least a point in 10 games over that span. Springfield currently holds the best points percentage (.773) in the Eastern Conference and second best in the American Hockey League, only behind the Grand Rapids Griffins (.783).
 
STCC Digital Photography Program/Jake Fish
 
Springfield looks to extend its lead in the Northeast Division with three road tests this week. The Falcons visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. before continuing their road trip in Norfolk to face off against the Admirals Friday and Saturday night. The team has won its only matchups so far this season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has not yet faced Norfolk.
 
Click here for the Falcons’ 2013-14 regular-season schedule.
Click here for the Falcons’ individual statistics.
Click here for the AHL standings.
 
Single-game tickets throughout the 2013-14 season can be purchased at the MassMutual Center box office from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to game time on Saturday home dates, and four hours prior to any Sunday home contests. Fans can also purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com. For information about discounted group packages, call a Falcons’ sales representative at (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
 
WEEK IN REVIEW
 
Springfield 4, Albany 6
Wednesday, December 4
Times Union Center
 
Click here for the box score.
 
The Falcons had their eight-game point streak snapped Wednesday night in Albany, falling to the Devils by the final score of 6-4. The Falcons held a 4-3 third-period lead, but three unanswered goals lifted the Devils to victory. The Falcons went 2-for-3 on the power play, getting scores on the man advantage from Ryan Criag (who also scored at even strength) and Michael Chaput. For Chaput, who returned Wednesday after playing the previous 17 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, it was his third goal of the season. Jeremy Smith made 31 saves on 36 shots between the pipes for Springfield in a losing effort, while Albany netminder Keith Kinkaid stopped 30 of 34.
 
Springfield 3, Hartford 2
Saturday, December 7
MassMutual Center
 
 
Click here for the box score.
 
Springfield got back in the win column with a 3-2 victory over Northeast Division rival Hartford Friday night. The Falcons jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with first-period scores by Dalton Smith and Patrick McNeill. For Smith, the goal was his third of the season and second in three games. Hartford responded with two consecutive goals of its own – an even-strength score by Ryan Bourque and a power-play tally by Connor Allen – in the second period. Broc Little’s goal at 18:58 of the middle frame regained the lead for the Falcons and served as the eventual game-winning goal. Jeremy Smith bounced back, making 19 saves on 21 shots to earn his ninth victory of the season.
 
Springfield 4, Hartford 2
Sunday, December 8
XL Center
 
Click here for the box score.
 
The Falcons traveled to Hartford Sunday for the second leg of a home-and-home set with the Wolf Pack. Springfield again jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, defeating Hartford 4-2 at the XL Center. Darryl Boyce and Sean Collins found the back of the net in the first period, giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead entering the first intermission. Springfield is now 12-1-0-0 this season when scoring the game’s first goal and 11-0-1-0 when leading at the end of the first period. After Danny Syvret got the Wolf Pack on the board in the second period, the Falcons responded in the third with two more scores, one each by forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Aleardi. Jeremy Smith stopped 33 of 35 shots faced in net and earned his 10th victory of the season. Smith became the sixth AHL goaltender to reach a double-digit win total this season.
 
WEEK AHEAD
 
Wednesday, December 11 – Springfield at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Mohegan Sun Arena, 7:05 p.m.
 
Friday, December 13 – Springfield at Norfolk, Scope Arena, 7:30 p.m.
 
Saturday, December 14 – Springfield at Norfolk, Scope Arena, 7:15 p.m.
 
FIRST PLACE
 
The Falcons maintain first place in the AHL’s Northeast Division with a 16-4-1-1 record, having earned 34 of a possible 44 points. The team’s .773 points percentage leads the Eastern Conference and ranks second in the entire AHL, only behind the Grand Rapids Griffins (.783). Springfield trails Manchester by three points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference but has four games in hand on the Monarchs.
 
ERIXON RECALLED
 
Tim Erixon, the Falcons’ leader in points (16) and assists (13) was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday morning and will join the NHL club on the road for its game at the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night. The Swedish product has appeared in one game with Columbus this season, posting a +1 rating in 18:05 of action November 22 at Vancouver. In 50 career NHL games between the Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, Erixon has recorded seven points (zero goals, seven assists) and a +3 rating.
 
STCC Digital Photography Program/Paul Bowler
 
SCORING EARLY
 
For Springfield, scoring early has been a strong sign of success. The Falcons have scored the first goal of the game 13 times in 22 games so far this season, and in those 13 games, Springfield is 12-1-0-0. Wednesday’s loss at Albany was the first time the Falcons dropped a game when scoring the first goal. The team has also posted a sparkling 11-0-1-0 mark when leading after one period of play. 
 
ROSTER SHAKE-UP
 
The Falcons have had some changes to the roster over the last week. Mike McKenna, the reigning CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for November, was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday, December 4 to fill the spot voided by Sergei Bobrovsky’s lower-body injury. Defenseman Tim Erixon was recalled Monday, sending the Falcons’ leader in points and assists to Columbus as well. The team did get forward Michael Chaput back from the Blue Jackets Wednesday. The second-year pro played 17 games for Springfield’s NHL affiliate and scored his third goal of the season in his return to the Falcons December 4 at Albany.
 
ALEARDI HEATING UP
 
Springfield’s rookie forward Alex Aleardi is on a current two-game point streak, posting four points (one goal, three assists) in two wins for the club. Sunday in Hartford, Aleardi notched an insurance tally at 6:10 of the third period to go along with the two assists he already registered. The three-point night increased the Farmington Hills, Michigan native’s season point total by 50 percent, from six to nine.
 
Liam Edson Photography
 
CRAIG IN THE RECORD BOOKS
 
Springfield captain Ryan Craig is carving his name in the franchise record books. With two goals (one on the power play) Wednesday in Albany, Craig matched Rob Schremp for ninth of the club’s all-time points list at 118 and surpassed Daniel Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel for the franchise record in power-play goals (30). The Abbotsford, British Columbia native is just four points from tying Jason McBain for eighth on the team’s all-time points list and seven games from matching Goran Bezina for 10th in games played in team history at 204.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
The Falcons strong play on special teams has fueled the team’s success through the month of November and into early December. Winners of nine of their last 11 games, the Falcons have gone 16-for-66 (24.2 percent) on the power play and 44-for-49 (89.8) on the penalty kill over that span. The team is successfully killing off penalties at an 89.5 percent rate this season, good for the second best mark in the AHL, behind only the Norfolk Admirals (89.8 percent).
 
HOLIDAY HAT TRICK PACK
 
The Springfield Falcons Holiday Hat Trick Pack is now on sale! The package – which includes two ticket vouchers, an autographed specialty holiday puck and $10 worth of Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards – is priced at $45 dollars. The holiday gift can be purchased at the online store, at the merchandise stand on game days, or at the Falcons Nest Pro Shop Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Holiday Hat Trick Pack is only available while supplies last.
 
COME TO A FALCONS GAME
 
For information about available ticket packages or single-game tickets, fans can contact a Falcons’ sale representative at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit the team website by clicking here. All the information is also available at Ticket Headquarters, located on the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 31 at all Falcons’ home games.
 
The Falcons offer a number of affordable ticket packages to allow fans to enjoy the family entertainment for a low price. In addition to season-ticket plans, the team also offers flex packages for those who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each game. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20 and 12-voucher plans, and the customer can use any number of those vouchers to any game, based on seat availability.
 
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 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday) or online by clicking here. The shop is stocked with brand new merchandise for the 2013-14 season, including limited-edition apparel and novelty items featuring the new 20th anniversary logo. The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.


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