Falcons' Winning Streak Ended by Sharks
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (25-10-3-3) had their winning streak snapped at six games on Friday night at the MassMutual Center, taking an early lead before succumbing to the Worcester Sharks (20-17-1-3), 3-1.
The Falcons dropped their first contest since an overtime defeat on Jan. 11 in Worcester and lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 5 in Albany, ending an eight-game points streak. Springfield leads the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Connecticut Whale by 14 points for first place in the Northeast Division and is tied with the Binghamton Senators atop the Eastern Conference.
Scott Howes positioned himself in the slot and rerouted a Bryan Helmer right-point drive past Worcester goaltender Harri Sateri and into the net at 3:07 of the opening period, as Springfield took a 1-0 lead with what would prove to be its only goal of the evening.
The Falcons tried to capitalize on the momentum from Russell's goal when they went on the power play moments later, but the Sharks countered with a shorthanded tally to tie the contest. Tommy Grant poked a puck free in the neutral zone, skated into Springfield's end, and backhanded a shot by Falcons netminder Curtis McElhinney at 4:18, making it 1-1.
McElhinney kept the game tied just over five minutes into the second period when he kicked away a Brodie Reid breakaway bid.
James Livingston made the most out of a middle frame that featured few scoring chances when he broke in on a two-on-one rush and wristed a puck by McElhinney's stick from the left circle at 10:32, as Worcester claimed a 2-1 edge.
The Sharks opened their advantage to two goals early in the third. With Worcester working on the power play, Danill Tarasov took a cross-ice feed from Danny Groulx and fired the puck by McElhinney from the right circle at 2:37, as Worcester went up, 3-1.
Springfield attempted to stage a comeback, pulling McElhinney with 90 seconds to go in the contest. As was the case for most of the evening, however, Sateri was perfect late, and the Sharks prevailed, 3-1.
Making his first start since Jan. 11, McElhinney (17-7-2) set aside 15 shots. Sateri (8-9-1) allowed one goal on Springfield's 22 bids.
The loss ended the Falcons' best winning streak in years. After falling to Worcester two weeks ago, the Falcons reeled off four-straight wins for the first time since December of 2006, and then added fifth and sixth-straight victories for the first time since March of 1998.
Springfield's defeat Friday ended its attempt at tying the longest points streak in franchise history of nine games.
The Falcons close out the weekend and the month of January on Saturday in Connecticut at 7:00 p.m. before AHL teams head to the All-Star break.
The Falcons return home to host the Syracuse Crunch for the only time in 2012-2013 on Friday, Feb. 1 at the MassMutual Center, presented by Pride Stations & Stores. The first 1,000 fans into the building 12 and under will receive a youth specialty Falcons jersey, courtesy of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. Fans in attendance on Friday will also 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).
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