December 27, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Falcons
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (16-7-2-3) scored two late goals but could not catch up to the Albany Devils (10-10-1-6) on Thursday night at the MassMutual Center, hitting the crossbar in the game's final moments before dropping a 4-3 decision.
Albany took advantage of a controversial play to grab a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Harri Pesonen deflected a puck with an apparent kicking motion into the net off a Brandon Burlon feed at 19:08. After a lengthy review, the goal was upheld and Albany carried the one-goal edge into the first intermission.
The Devils increased their lead to 2-0 at 11:00 of the middle frame, as Stephen Gionta tipped a Colin McPherson shot past Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney from the right side of the net.
Ryan Johansen's goal at 15:31 of the second brought the Falcons to within one. Johansen pushed a rebound on the doorstep from a Theo Ruth shot past Devils netminder Keith Kinkaid to narrow Albany's lead to 2-1.
Just moments later, Joe Whitney positioned himself in the slot and rerouted an Adam Larsson pass by McElhinney at 16:02, as Albany went back up by two, 3-1.
Steve Zalewski deflected a Bobby Butler slap pass with his body by McElhinney on a five-on-three power play at 1:53 of the third, as the Devils increased their lead to 4-1.
Facing a three-goal deficit, the Falcons commenced a last-ditch comeback effort with two tallies.
Matt Calvert backhanded a puck from the slot by Kinkaid at 18:00 of the third to bring Springfield to within a pair, 4-2.
With McElhinney pulled for an extra attacker, Calvert fired a shot off the end boards, with the puck deflecting right to Cam Atkinson in the left circle. Atkinson drove the puck in at 19:29, as the Falcons pulled to within one, 4-3.
McElhinney remained on the bench for the final moments of the game, and the Falcons nearly tied the score, as David Savard drilled the crossbar with a wrist shot in the final five seconds of the contest. Springfield could not complete the comeback, however, falling 4-3.
McElhinney (15-4-2) allowed four goals on 29 shots in the loss. Kinkaid (7-7-3) set aside 28 of Springfield's 31 attempts.
The Falcons remain home to close out the weekend, 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).
The Falcons have not lost at home by more than a goal all season...Ruth's assist was his first point of 2012-2013...Springfield has dropped five-straight home games (0-3-1-1) and has not won at the MassMutual Center since Nov. 11...The Falcons' Northeast Division lead was reduced to four points, as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers won on Thursday...Calvert registered a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" with a goal, assist, and fight...Atkinson's goal was his 48th as a Falcon...He had an assist as well and now has a club-best 16 goals and 32 points...Tim Erixon had two assists...The Falcons were scoreless on three power-play chances and are now 1/30 in their last six games