04/04/2014 7:31 PM
The Springfield Falcons (44-20-1-5) defeated the St. John’s IceCaps by the final score of 8-7 in overtime Friday night at Mile One Centre, clinching a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.
Sean Collins scored the game-winning goal at the 2:50 mark of the overtime period, finishing a rebound from the slot past St. John’s netminder Eric Comrie. For Collins, the goal was his 14th of the season and second game-winner. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native also added two assists in the contest.
In his first game back in the lineup after missing the team’s last eight tilts, Jack Skille broke out for five points and four goals Friday night, including the equalizer with just 17 seconds left in the third period. The Madison, Wisconsin native became only the fourth player in Falcons history to score four goals in a single regular-season game, joining the company of Daniel Briere, Grant Potulny and Chad Wiseman. Skille set new team highs for points (5) and goals (4) in a game this season, while becoming the second Falcon to record a hat trick in 2013-14, after Michael Chaput scored three goals versus the Worcester Sharks February 16. In just 21 games with Springfield this season, Skille has registered 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) and a +2 rating.
Carter Camper, Matt Taormina and Cody Bass also found the back of the net for Springfield in a five-goal first period, the team’s highest-scoring stanza this season. Springfield led 5-3 at the end of 20 minutes.
Patrice Cormier led the way for St. John’s, recording three points and two goals with a +3 rating. Andrew Gordon, Jerome Samson and Kyle MacKinnon each notched a goal and an assist for the IceCaps.
Mike McKenna made 17 saves on 23 shots through 40 minutes of action in net for the Falcons before being relieved by Jeremy Smith. In 21:37, Smith stopped 12 of 13 shots, earning his 21st victory of the season, tying McKenna for the team lead and 10th most in franchise history.
Tyler Beskorowany allowed three goals on eight shots in 9:30 between the pipes for St. John’s before being replaced by the newly-added Comrie. In his first pro action, Comrie made 36 saves on 41 shots in 53:20.
Despite allowing a 5-1 first-period lead turn into a 7-6 third-period deficit, the Falcons came back to tie the game in regulation and win in overtime to clinch a berth into the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. The berth is the team’s second in as many years after failing to qualify for postseason play for the previous nine seasons.
The Falcons close out the weekend series and current five-game road trip Saturday, April 5 at the St. John’s IceCaps at 6:00 p.m. ET. The team returns to the MassMutual Center Friday, April 11 to host the Portland Pirates at 7:00 p.m.