01/24/2014 8:50 PM
The Springfield Falcons (28-9-1-3) were defeated by the Hartford Wolf Pack by the final score of 5-2 Friday night at the XL Center, losing to the Wolf Pack for the first time in seven meetings this season.
The Wolf Pack never trailed in the contest, leading for all but 4:41 of Friday night’s game. Jesper Fast gave Hartford a 1-0 lead just seven seconds into the first period, streaking behind the Springfield defense and beating Falcons goaltender Jeremy Smith with a backhanded shot.
Oscar Lindberg scored twice, including the eventual game-winning goal, giving the Wolf Pack a 3-2 lead at 18:55 of the second period. For Lindberg, who posted a +3 rating in the contest, the goals were his eighth and ninth of the season.
Danny Kristo, at 4:36 of the first period, and T.J. Hensick, with an empty-netter at 19:58 of the third period, scored the other two Hartford goals.
Trailing 2-0 early in the first period, Michael Chaput cut the Falcons deficit in half, firing a wrist shot from the left-wing circle that beat Hartford netminder Dov Grumet-Morris. For Chaput, the goal was his ninth of the season and served as the only power-play tally for either team.
With 5:39 remaining in the opening frame, Springfield defenseman Tim Erixon ripped a wrist shot from the right-wing circle into the back of the net, evening the score at 2-2. Erixon finished the game with two points (one goal, one assist) and a -1 rating.
In his return to the Springfield lineup, Jack Skille posted a multi-point effort. The Madison, Wisconsin native added two helpers Friday and was one of only two Falcons with a positive plus-minus rating. Skille, who was recalled most recently by the Columbus Blue Jackets December 17, has totaled five points (two goals, three assists) and a +2 rating in seven games with Springfield this season.
Smith earned the loss in net for the Falcons, allowing four goals on 15 shots in 22:34 of action. With the defeat, the Dearborn, Michigan native fell to 17-7-2 this season. In relief, Mike McKenna stopped all 21 shots he faced. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder leads all AHL goaltenders with a 1.65 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.
Grumet-Morris stopped 22 of 24 shots between the posts for Hartford, improving to 4-10-4 this season.
Springfield went 1-for-4 on the power play, while holding Hartford scoreless on four opportunities with the man advantage.
With the loss, the Falcons win streak was snapped at three games. The team is now 6-4-0-0 in the month of January and 13-4-1-2 on the road this season. Friday’s loss also marked the first time this season the team was defeated by the Wolf Pack. Springfield won the first six meetings this season, four in regulation and two in a shootout.
The Falcons return to the MassMutual Center for back-to-back games Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26. Saturday, Springfield hosts the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00 p.m. for Red Sox Night, which includes an appearance by mascot Wally the Green Monster. Sunday, the Falcons welcome the Portland Pirates at 3:00 p.m.