December 27, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Falcons
FALCONS GAME PREVIEW: SPRINGFIELD VS. ALBANY, GAME #28
Springfield Falcons (16-6-2-3) vs. Albany Devils (9-10-1-6)
Thursday, December 27, 2012
TICKETS: (413) 739-GOAL/MassMutual Center Box Office/Ticketmaster.com
RADIO: WHYN NewsTalk 560 AM/WHYN.com
IN JUST A FEW HOURS...
The Springfield Falcons begin a four-game home stand when they welcome the Albany Devils to the MassMutual Center at 7:00 p.m. The Falcons entered the Christmas break with a 1-0 victory over the Hershey Bears on Saturday night on the road, as Curtis McElhinney set a franchise record with his sixth shutout of the season. Springfield leads the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by six points for first place in the Northeast Division, and is three points back of the Syracuse Crunch with two games in hand for the Eastern Conference's top spot.
The Falcons remain home after tonight's game, hosting the Connecticut Whale on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday's game Connecticut is presented by Roncari Express Valet Parking at Bradley Airport (RoncariValet.com). Fans can win a free bicycle courtesy of Gus Coelho Auto Repair at 442 Holyoke St. in Ludlow as part of "Cycle Saturday" at the MassMutual Center (GusAutoRepair.net).
On Sunday, the Falcons will hold a white sock drive at the MassMutual Center to benefit Friends of the Homeless when they play host to the Admirals. Springfield will attempt to sweep the season series against Norfolk, having won each of the first three meetings.
Fans are asked to bring new and packaged white socks to this event to donate to the male guests of Friends of the Homeless, the largest adult emergency shelter in Western Mass. Friends of the Homeless will accept the donations at a table in the concourse behind section 1 during the game. Started in 1988, Friends of the Homeless provides shelter for approximately 1,200 non-violent people annually and works to find permanent housing solutions for its guests. For more information visit FOHSpringfield.org.
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).
SHUTTING THEM DOWN
In addition to holding league-highs of 15 wins and six shutouts, Curtis McElhinney is third in the AHL with a .937 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average. The AHL individual record for shutouts in one season is 13, posted by Hartford's Jason LaBarbera in 59 outings in 2003-2004. McElhinney is also on pace to play in 59 games this season and would post approximately 17 shutouts if he continues to blank opponents at this current rate. With six shutouts as a team, the Falcons are four shy of equaling their club mark of 10, accomplished in 1995-1996. Springfield is second in the league as a team on defense, allowing 2.26 goals/game.
Brad Larsen enters this week with a chance to represent the Eastern Conference as its head coach at the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic. The head coach of the team with the best points percentage in each conference after play ends on Dec. 31 will be named that conference's head coach for the All-Star Classic. The Falcons and Larsen (.685) trail only the Syracuse Crunch and Jon Cooper (.690) for first place in the Eastern Conference entering Thursday's action. Larsen would become the first Falcons head coach to serve in that capacity at the All-Star Classic.
SCOUTING THE DEVILS
Albany heads into Thursday's game in last place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points. The Falcons own a 24-20-2 all-time record against the Devils. Bobby Butler leads Albany with 11 goals and has scored seven times in the last six games. He was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 16. The Devils have dropped four-straight games and are 0-2-1-1 during that stretch. Albany's 60 goals scored are the fewest in the AHL.