Falcons Complete Record Season In Fitting Fashion
Glens Falls, N.Y. - Having already set a record for the highest points percentage in franchise history, the Northeast Division-champion Springfield Falcons (45-22-5-4) finished their 2012-13 regular-season schedule by tying the club mark for wins in a campaign, earning their 45th victory by a score of 3-2 over the Adirondack Phantoms (30-38-3-4) on Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Falcons finished the year with a .651 points percentage, the best in their 19 seasons of competition. Springfield matched its victory total, originally set during the 80-game season of 1997-98, in its 76th and final contest of 2012-13.
Nick Holden was on the ice for Springfield's first goal on Saturday and exited the game with a +1 mark to up his season rating to +24, breaking a Falcons record that had been shared at +23 by John Stevens and Danny Briere.
Although inactive, Curtis McElhinney, who already had accumulated a Falcons all-time record nine shutouts, broke the team mark for highest save percentage in one season of .923.
The Falcons executed their best defensive season in history as well, allowing 186 goals, 29 fewer than their previous low of 215, notched in 1997-98.
With their schedule completed, the Falcons will learn the identity of their opponent for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals following the conclusion of the AHL's season on Sunday. Springfield will either meet Manchester, Portland, or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Boone Jenner scored for the third time in the last four games to gain a 1-0 lead for Springfield. Jenner finished off a two-on-one charge with Sean Collins by sliding the puck past Adirondack goaltender Brian Boucher's stick at 1:29 of the first.
Mark Alt tied the game at 7:11 of the second, collecting a puck in the slot and snapping it past Springfield netminder Allen York's blocker for his first professional goal, making it 1-1.
The Falcons spent little time even with the Phantoms, garnering the advantage once again under a minute later on a beautiful play by Nick Drazenovic. The sixth-year center embarked on a breakaway but lost his angle to the net. Instead of shooting, Drazenovic dropped the puck back to Spencer Machacek, who easily slid it in at 8:10, putting Springfield ahead for good, 2-1.
Drazenovic created Springfield's third goal as well. After taking possession in the neutral zone, Drazenovic darted to the left circle and centered to the puck to the slot for Jake Hansen, who fired it by Boucher at 11:41, extending the Falcons' pad to 3-1.
Adirondack took advantage of a shorthanded rush to keep the game within reach. Jason Akeson carried the puck through the right circle and slid it to the top of the crease for Rob Bordson, who redirected it into the net at 5:30 of the third.
The Phantoms battled to try and knot the contest up late, but York made a point-blank stop on Scott Laughton with five seconds to go in the action, and Springfield ended its season with a 3-2 win.
York (13-6-0) finished the year with four-straight victories, stopping 20 of 22 shots on Saturday. Boucher (6-8-1) permitted three goals on 18 shots.
Springfield will be the second seed and play Manchester in the first round of the playoffs if Syracuse wins in a shootout or loses on Sunday. If the Crunch beat Binghamton in regulation or in sudden-death overtime, the Falcons would slide to the third spot and play either Portland or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Falcons will host the first two contests of the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the MassMutual Center. Game 1 will be played on Saturday, Apr. 27 at 7 p.m., with Game 2 following on Sunday, Apr. 28 at 4 p.m. Springfield would also host Game 5, if necessary.
The remainder of Springfield's first-round schedule will be announced on FalconsAHL.com once the club's opponent is determined at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Single-game tickets to watch the Falcons compete in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals are on sale now at the MassMutual Center Box Office, or online at Ticketmaster.com. For information on cost-saving postseason ticket packages, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625).
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