Falcons Game Preview: Springfield Vs. Bridgeport, Game #49
Springfield Falcons (29-12-4-3) vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (22-21-3-3)
Friday, February 22, 2013
TICKETS: (413) 739-GOAL/MassMutual Center Box Office/Ticketmaster.com
RADIO: (presented by FalconsWireless.com) WHYN NewsTalk 560 AM/WHYN.com
IN JUST A FEW HOURS...
The Springfield Falcons return to the ice tonight at 7:00 p.m. when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons have a nine-point lead with five games in hand on the Connecticut Whale for first place in the Northeast Division and hold the league's top points percentage of .677. Springfield went 1-1-1-0 last week, falling to Bridgeport in overtime on Tuesday, 4-3, beating Worcester at home on Friday, 3-1, behind strong penalty killing, and then succumbing to Portland on Saturday at The Nest, 3-1. The Falcons' most recent contest on Sunday against Adirondack was suspended with 3:42 left in the second period and the Phantoms leading, 2-1. The game will be completed on Friday, Mar. 1.
Fans attending tonight's game, presented by Friendly's, will have the opportunity to win a brand new, high-definition television courtesy of Manny's TV & Appliances as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
Tonight's broadcast is presented by FalconsWireless.com and starts at 6:58 p.m. on WHYN 560 AM, WHYN.com, the iHeartRadio App, or 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).
CRAIG NEARS MAJOR MILESTONE
Ryan Craig's goal on Sunday was his 27th on the power play in a Falcons sweater. Craig is tied with Jason Jaspers for third in Falcons history in that category and is two man-advantage conversions shy of matching Danny Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel's club-record 29 power-play goals. Springfield's captain also moved into seventh in team history on Sunday with his 55th goal. Trudel is the Falcons' all-time leading goal scorer, striking 90 times in his Springfield career. Craig is on an eight-game point streak (4g-6a), Springfield's second longest of the 2012-2013 season. He would match Cam Atkinson's club-best nine-game point streak with a goal or an assist tonight.
Bryan Helmer will play in his 1,300th professional game tonight.
IN THE TOP TEN
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Nick Drazenovic each enter this weekend's three-in-three near the top of the AHL in scoring. Audy-Marchessault is fourth in the league with a Falcons-best 46 points (16g-30a) while Drazenovic is tied for fifth with 45 points (16g-29a). Drazenovic is a point shy of equaling his career high of 46, set in 2010-2011 with Peoria. He is on a five-game point streak (3g-5a) dating back to Jan. 26.
THE ELUSIVE CAM ATKINSON
Cam Atkinson, who was recalled by Columbus at the start of the NHL season on Jan. 13, continues to lead the Falcons with 17 goals despite not having participated in the club's last 16 contests. Atkinson is trailed by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Ryan Craig, Nick Drazenovic, and Ryan Johansen, who are all tied for second on Springfield with 16 goals. Audy-Marchessault appeared primed to match Atkinson when he reached 16 goals with a hat trick in Manchester on Jan. 15, but has not scored since that night.
POWER PLAY PRODUCES AGAIN
Springfield has at least one power play goal in 37 of 48-plus games this season and is sixth in the AHL at 20.6%. Nick Drazenovic tops the AHL with 26 power-play points (9g-17a), while Ryan Craig is tied for fourth in the league in that department with 21 points (10g-11a).
PENALTY KILL UP TO THE TEST
Springfield's penalty kill has not allowed a power-play goal in four of the last five full games. Since Feb. 2, the Falcons are 23/24 in shorthanded situations. They are fourth in the league on the penalty kill at 85.8%.
The Falcons are on pace to compile 103 points, which would break their franchise record of 100 points, accomplished in 1995-1996. Springfield is also on pace to set a club mark for wins in a season of 46, one better than its record 45 victories in 1997-1998. Additionally, the Falcons are on pace to suffer just 19 regulation losses, three fewer than their low of 22 in 1995-1996.
The Falcons, currently 17 games over .500, are nearing their all-time high water mark. Springfield's franchise record for games above .500 within one season is 21, set when the Falcons defeated the Rochester Americans on Apr. 13, 1996 to claim a record of 42-21-10-5.
The Falcons are the only team in the AHL without a 10-minute misconduct this season, and are one of three clubs without a game misconduct or a match penalty.
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