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Falcons Game Preview: Springfield Vs. Portland, Game #48

February 16, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) Springfield Falcons

Springfield Falcons (29-11-4-3) vs. Portland Pirates (28-18-1-1)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

7:00 p.m.

MassMutual Center

TICKETS: (413) 739-GOAL/MassMutual Center Box Office/Ticketmaster.com

RADIO: (presented by FalconsWireless.com) WHYN NewsTalk 560 AM/WHYN.com

WEBCAST: AHLLive.com

IN JUST A FEW HOURS...

The Eastern Conference-leading Springfield Falcons play the middle game of their home three-in-three when they welcome the Portland Pirates back to the MassMutual Center. The Falcons, led by the penalty killing of Andrew Joudrey and Ryan Russell, fended off seven Worcester power plays on Friday night at the MassMutual Center on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Sharks. Nick Holden scored the game-winning goal at 6:30 of the third period while Joudrey and Ryan Craig also tallied for Springfield. Allen York stopped all 15 shots he saw in the finale frame on the way to a 22-save performance and his sixth victory. Springfield extended its points streak to five games (4-0-1-0) and maintained its 13-point lead over Connecticut for first place in the Northeast Division. The Falcons upped their AHL-best points percentage to .691 as well.

The first 1,000 fans into the building tonight will receive a Falcons winter hat, courtesy of Health New England. Fans can also win a free bicycle from Gus Coelho Auto Repair at 442 Holyoke St. in Ludlow as part of "Cycle Saturday."

Tonight's broadcast is presented by FalconsWireless.com and starts at 6:45 p.m. on WHYN 560 AM, WHYN.com, the iHeartRadio App, or AHLLive.com.

The Falcons will hold their annual team poster giveaway, courtesy of Friendly's, on Sunday versus the Adirondack Phantoms. Following the action, fans are invited to participate in a postgame skate, presented by Western New England University, before having their posters signed by Falcons players in the MassMutual Center concourse.

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).

CRAIG CLIMBS THE CHARTS

Ryan Craig's goal on Friday was his 54th as a Falcon, moving him into a tie for seventh in club history with Ravil Gusmanov. The goal came on the man advantage, putting Craig alone in fourth in Falcons history with his 26th power-play conversion. He is three power-play tallies shy of equaling Jean-Guy Trudel and Danny Briere for the most goals on the man advantage in a Falcons uniform. Although his five-game assist streak ended, Craig extended his point streak to six contests (3g-5a).

BASS MAKES IMPACT IN RETURN

Cody Bass contributed to the Falcons' seven-for-seven penalty-killing effort in his first game since Oct. 28. Bass suffered an injury at the end of the Falcons' victory over the Pirates in the final game of October and missed the next 39 contests. The Owen Sound, Ontario native celebrated his return by playing in his 250th professional game.

TOP TEN PERFORMANCE

David Savard saved a puck from exiting the zone and helped set up Ryan Craig's goal on Friday night, as the defenseman jumped into a tie for 10th in Falcons history with Erik Westrum, collecting his 69th assist in a Springfield jersey.

NEARING A MILESTONE

Nick Holden is a goal or an assist shy of equaling his career high of 25 points in a season. Holden, currently with 24 points (5g-19a), collected 25 points (4g-21a) in his first season with Springfield in 2010-2011.

ONE MORE FOR WADE

Wade MacLeod assisted on Nick Holden's game winner on Friday, extending his point streak to five games (1g-5a).

DRIVE FOR FIVE

Ryan Johansen has goals in four-straight AHL games (4g-2a) dating back to Jan. 6.

THREE'S A CROWD

Springfield is in the midst of its 12th three-in-three sequence of the season this weekend. The Falcons have won five straight during three-in-three action and are 11-4-2-2 in contests falling during a three-game weekend this year.

ALMOST THERE

The Falcons, currently 18 games over .500, are nearing their all-time high water mark. Springfield's franchise record for games above .500 within one season is 21, set when the Falcons defeated the Rochester Americans on Apr. 13, 1996 to claim a record of 42-21-10-5. The Falcons, who have led the Northeast Division since play ended on Oct. 26, are on pace to collect 47 wins and 105 points, both of which would set new franchise records.

BIG DIFFERENCE

Springfield's +45 goal differential is the highest in the AHL, +17 ahead of second-place Binghamton in that department.

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