December 29, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Falcons
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (16-8-2-3) scored their first power-play goal in four games but were doubled up by the Connecticut Whale (13-16-2-0), 4-2, in front of a lively, snow-battling crowd of 4,899 fans on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
Former Falcon Chad Kolarik registered a pair of special-teams goals in the first period, helping to pace the Whale to an eventual 4-0 advantage.
Connecticut received just one power play in the game and took just five seconds to make the most of its lone opportunity. Christian Thomas fired a puck off the face-off wide of the net, but Kolarik flipped the rebound from the end boards by Springfield netminder Curtis McElhinney at 12:52 to put the Whale up, 1-0.
Kolarik deposited another rebound later in the opening frame, this time with the Whale shorthanded. Kris Newbury stole the puck in the Falcons' zone and skated in with Kolarik on a two-on-one rush. McElhinney stopped Newbury's shot, but Kolarik snapped the follow-up bid in at 19:16 to make it 2-0.
McElhinney did not appear to see Connecticut's third tally, as Logan Pyett wound up from the left point and drove the puck through a screen at 6:47 of the middle stanza, extending the Whale advantage to 3-0.
Thomas smashed a feed from Sean Collins by McElhinney from the right circle moments later at 8:39, giving Connecticut a 4-0 lead and handing Springfield its biggest deficit of the season.
The Falcons fought back in the third with a pair of tallies but could not overcome the four-goal margin.
With Springfield mired in an 0/24 slump on the man advantage, Ryan Craig flicked in a centering pass from Cam Atkinson, as the Falcons connected on a five-on-three power play at 6:06 of the third to close to within three, 4-1.
Ryan Russell lifted a puck over Connecticut goaltender Cam Talbot at 12:51, registering his first goal since his 2012-2013 debut on Oct. 19 to close out the scoring, 4-2.
McElhinney (15-5-2) turned back 26 shots as he fell to the Whale for the first time in four starts this year. Talbot (11-13-0) notched his first victory versus the Falcons in three tries this season, stopping 23 of 25 attempts.
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 Norfolk Admirals at 5:00 p.m. 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.
Sunday's broadcast presented by FalconsWireless.com begins at 4:45 p.m. on WHYN NewsTalk 560 AM, WHYN.com, the iHeartRadio App, and AHLLive.com.
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).