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Falcons Weekly Notes

February 21, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) Springfield Falcons

Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (29-12-4-3) return to the ice this Friday when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the MassMutual Center before taking to the road on Saturday to battle the Syracuse Crunch and then finishing off the weekend on Sunday in Worcester against the Sharks. The Falcons went 1-1-1-0 last week, earning a point in an overtime loss in Bridgeport on Tuesday, beating the Sharks in Springfield on Friday behind strong penalty killing, and then falling to the Portland Pirates at the Nest on Saturday. Springfield's home game against the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday was suspended with Adirondack leading, 2-1, with 3:42 left in the second period and will be concluded at 6:05 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 1. The Falcons' points percentage of .677 through 48 games is the best in the league during the 20th week of the 2012-2013 AHL season. Springfield has a nine-point lead with five games in hand on the Connecticut Whale for first place in the Northeast Division.

Fans attending Friday's game, presented by Friendly's, will have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."

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).

WEEK IN REVIEW

Bridgeport 4, Springfield 3 (OT)

Tuesday, Feb. 12

Webster Bank Arena

Ryan Johansen's nifty goal just 46 seconds into the action gave Springfield a 1-0 lead. The Falcons, however, could not take advantage of the early edge, were outshot 25-12 past the halfway point of the game, and eventually faced a 3-1 deficit. Jack Combs escaped behind Springfield's defense later in the first and fired a puck by Curtis McElhinney, tying the game at a goal apiece. Bridgeport notched a pair of special-teams tallies in the second, as Nino Niederreiter struck shorthanded while Matt Donovan blasted a puck in on the power play to give the Sound Tigers a two-goal cushion. The Falcons generated momentum later in the middle frame, and then Nick Drazenovic officially commenced Springfield's comeback, snapping a puck by Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin at 8:07 of the third. Springfield pummeled Poulin in the last stanza, outshooting Bridgeport over the final 20 minutes, 13-2. With McElhinney pulled in the waning seconds of regulation, Tomas Kubalik chipped a puck in from the top of the crease, tying the contest and forcing overtime, 3-3, at 19:19. John Persson redirected a Donovan pass in from the slot at 2:46 of the extra frame, as Bridgeport escaped with a 4-3 sudden-death win. Despite the loss, Springfield extended its points streak to four games (3-0-1-0).

Springfield 3, Worcester 1

Friday, Feb. 15

MassMutual Center

Ryan Craig struck on a five-on-three power play late in the first period as Springfield took a 1-0 lead. Danill Tarasov's tip-in early in the second tied the game, 1-1, but Nick Holden put the Falcons in front for good, taking a backdoor feed from Sean Collins and snapping the puck in at 6:30 of the final frame, making it 2-1. The story of the game was Springfield's penalty kill. The return of Cody Bass to the lineup combined with the consistent shorthanded play of Ryan Russell, Andrew Joudrey, and Craig helped the Falcons fight off all seven Worcester power plays, including a late two-minute five-on-three chance. Joudrey's empty netter with 12 seconds remaining in the game sealed Springfield's victory, 3-1. Allen York set aside 22 of 23 shots for his sixth win of the season.

Portland 3, Springfield 1

Saturday, Feb. 16

MassMutual Center

Chris Brown fired a puck home from the top of the left circle 7:11 into the opening frame, as Portland gained a 1-0 advantage. With the Falcons working on a power play later in the period, Wade MacLeod finished off a no-look backhand setup by Ryan Craig to tie the game, 1-1. MacLeod's goal would prove to be the only offense Springfield could offer, however, as Portland goaltender Mike Lee stopped 27 of 28 Falcon bids. Boris Valabik's long shot beat Curtis McElhinney through a screen with 5:01 left in the middle frame, and then Rob Klinkhammer provided Portland with insurance with a shot that snuck in from the right goal line 8:33 into the third for the 3-1 cushion. The regulation loss was Springfield's first of February, ending a five-game points streak (4-0-1-0).

WEEK AHEAD

Friday, Feb. 22 - Springfield vs. Bridgeport, MassMutual Center, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 23 - Springfield at Syracuse, War Memorial at Oncenter, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 24 - Springfield at Worcester, DCU Center, 3:00 p.m.

STREAKS CONTINUE TO PILE UP

Ryan Craig, Wade MacLeod, and Ryan Johansen each extended their point streaks with a first-period goal prior to the suspension of Sunday's game. Craig has points in eight-straight games (4g-6a) while MacLeod has collected a goal or an assist in seven-consecutive outings (2g-6a). Johansen is on a six-game AHL point streak dating back to Jan. 6 (4g-4a). Nick Drazenovic was assigned by Columbus on Wednesday after a one-week stint with the Blue Jackets. He is on a five-game AHL point streak since Jan. 26 (3g-5a).

CRAIG NEARS MAJOR MILESTONE

Ryan Craig's goal on Sunday was his 27th on the power play in a Falcons sweater. Craig is tied with Jason Jaspers for third in Falcons history in that category and is two man-advantage conversions shy of matching Danny Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel's club record 29 power-play goals. Springfield's captain also moved into seventh in team history on Sunday with his 55th goal. Trudel is the Falcons' all-time leading goal scorer, striking 90 times in his Springfield career.

IN THE TOP TEN

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Nick Drazenovic each enter this weekend's three-in-three near the top of the AHL in scoring. Audy-Marchessault is fourth in the league with a Falcons-best 46 points (16g-30a) while Drazenovic is tied for fifth with 45 points (16g-29a).

THE ELUSIVE CAM ATKINSON

Cam Atkinson, who was recalled by Columbus at the start of the NHL season on Jan. 13 continues to lead the Falcons with 17 goals despite not having participated in the club's last 16 contests. Atkinson is trailed by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Ryan Craig, Nick Drazenovic, and Ryan Johansen, who are all second on Springfield with 16 goals. Audy-Marchessault appeared primed to match Atkinson when he reached 16 goals with a hat trick in Manchester on Jan. 15, but has not scored since that game. He did, however, score on Jan. 28 in the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic.

PACING THEMSELVES

The Falcons are on pace to compile 103 points, which would break their franchise record of 100 points, accomplished in 1995-1996. Springfield is also on pace to set a club mark for wins in a season of 46, one better than its record 45 victories in 1997-1998. If the Falcons continue at their current clip, they would suffer just 19 regulation losses, three fewer than their record of 22 in 1995-1996.

POWER PLAY PRODUCES AGAIN

Springfield has at least one power play goal in 37 of 48-plus games this season and is sixth in the AHL at 20.6%. Nick Drazenovic tops the AHL with 26 power-play points (9g-17a), while Ryan Craig is tied for fourth in the league in that department with 21 points (10g-11a).

PENALTY KILL UP TO THE TEST

Springfield's penalty kill began Sunday's game with two successful appearances and has not allowed a power-play goal in four of the last five full games. Since Feb. 2, the Falcons are 23/24 in shorthanded situations. Springfield is fourth in the league on the penalty kill at 85.8%.

GETTING CLOSER

Springfield's +42 goal differential is the highest in the AHL, but is now just +4 ahead of the Syracuse Crunch for the league lead in that category. The Crunch take a five-game winning streak into Saturday's contest against Springfield.

ALMOST THERE

The Falcons, currently 17 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.

TRANSACTION UPDATE

Since Feb. 12, Springfield has had eight-different player transactions:

Feb. 20 - Nick Drazenovic, assigned by Columbus

Feb. 19 - Nathan Moon, recalled from Evansville

Feb. 17 - Cody Goloubef, assigned by Columbus

Feb. 17 - Sean Collins, recalled by Columbus

Feb. 17 - Trent Vogelhuber, recalled from Evansville

Feb. 13 - Patrick Cullity, assigned to Idaho

Feb. 13 - Nick Drazenovic, recalled by Columbus

Feb. 12 - Nick Holden, assigned by Columbus

BLUE JACKETS HEAD TO DETROIT

Columbus will try to snap a three-game losing skid tonight when it continues its six-game road trip in Detroit against the Red Wings. The Blue Jackets are expected to have the services of Cam Atkinson, who was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday after missing the last 13 games.

SUNDAY'S CONCLUSION SCHEDULED

The Falcons will finish their suspended game from this past Sunday against the Phantoms on Friday, Mar. 1 at 6:05 p.m. prior to that evening's scheduled contest between the two clubs, which will now begin at 7:30 p.m.

The game will resume with 3:42 remaining in the second period with Adirondack leading, 2-1, and Springfield commencing a two-minute power play. The teams will remain on the ice at the conclusion of the second period and will switch sides for the third.

The public is invited to attend the conclusion of the Feb. 17 game free of charge. After that game has ended, fans will be asked to exit the MassMutual Center before reentering the building to have their tickets for the 7:30 p.m. contest scanned. The teams will stay in their respective locker rooms during the break and will return to the ice at approximately 7:20 p.m. for a brief warmup before the opening face-off of the second game.

IN THE COMMUNITY

On Tuesday morning, Falcons players signed autographs for members of the Arbors Kids Club following the club's practice at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. Later that day, Michael Chaput and David Savard participated in a practice with the Pioneer Valley Lightning Mites at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. On Wednesday, seven Falcons players hosted the Interactive Hockey Event at Tower Square, running various floor hockey stations before signing autographs for the large crowd. That evening, Andrew Joudrey and Tim Spencer helped out with the Holy Name Squirt practice at Olympia.

LOCK IN YOUR SEAT FOR 2013-2014

Falcons fans are invited to reserve their ticket packages for the 2013-2014 season. Fans can to stop by "Ticket Headquarters" behind section 31 at The Nest during any Springfield home game to lock in their spot for the Falcons' 20th AHL season.

Adult season ticket prices remain the same for 2013-2014, giving fans the opportunity to watch the Falcons compete in all 38 home contests at the MassMutual Center for only $13/game. Season ticket packages in 2013-2014 will come with a no-waste guarantee, giving fans the opportunity to exchange their unused tickets for future home games. Fans can also take advantage of 22 and 10-game ticket packages next season.

The Falcons will also continue to offer flex packages for fans who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each contest. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20, and 12-ticket plans.

Youth ticket packages and flex plans are also available in 2013-2014 for children ages 14 and under.

A $50 non-refundable deposit per seat is required.

NOMINATE A HERO AMONG US

Throughout the season, fans can submit a nomination for TD Bank's "Heroes Among Us" program. Nominees can include teachers, doctors, firefighters, community volunteers, and other individuals you think deserve to be honored at a Falcons game. For more information and to nominate, click here.

SHOP AT THE 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 or online by clicking here.

The Tower Square location of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop is also open for the remainder of the season 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday and Thursday.

The Tower Square venue, located at 1500 Main St. in downtown Springfield, gives fans a chance to browse a wide variety of Falcons merchandise and ticket packages in a popular downtown location.

The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.

FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS

Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TOWER SQUARE STORE HOURS

Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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American Hockey League Stories from February 21, 2013


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