Falcons Host Wolf Pack Today
The Springfield Falcons and Hartford Wolf Pack will meet for the third time this season and second time at the MassMutual Center. The last time these two Atlantic Division rivals met was on October 21st with Springfield beating Hartford 4-3 in overtime. Falcons right wing Jim Campbell scored the game-winner on the power play in that contest, while Springfield center Jason Jaspers collected two goals. These two clubs also met on October 14 at the Hartford Civic Center with the Falcons pulling out a 2-1 victory on that evening. Jaspers has three goals in two games against the Wolf Pack this season, including the game-winner on October 14.
The Falcons return home this afternoon after concluding a three-game road trip last night in Hershey. For the fifth straight road game, Springfield earned a point in the standings last night losing to the Bears 3-2 in a shootout. Rookie goaltender Jonathan Boutin made his AHL debut Saturday night making 50 saves and earning the game's first star, while Ryan Vesce scored both goals for Springfield. The Falcons won their first two games of the road trip beating the Albany River Rats 4-3 on Wednesday, followed by a 4-3 overtime win over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Friday night. The Falcons currently have a record of 6-2-1-1 good for 14 points and a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division. Springfield has earned at least a point in eight of their 10 games this season.
Hartford heads into Springfield also with a taste of winning after beating the Providence Bruins last night 4-3 at the Hartford Civic Center. The Wolf Pack used a balanced attack to beat the Bruins receiving goals from Nigel Dawes, Alexandre Giroux, Craig Weller and Colby Genoway. Goaltender Al Montoya stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in earning the win between the pipes. Hartford has also earned at least a point in eight of their 10 games and have picked up a point in the standings in seven straight games.
NEW FRANCHISE RECORD: Falcons rookie goaltender Jonathan Boutin set a franchise record Saturday night in Hershey making 50 saves, breaking the previous record set by Manny Legace who made 48 saves on December 28, 1994 also in Hershey. Boutin, who was recalled from Johnstown (ECHL) on October 30, was the game's first star in his AHL debut last night. Boutin is in his first season of professional hockey after splitting last season between Prince Edward Island and Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Boutin was selected by the Tampa Bay Lighting in the third round (96th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
HEATING UP: Falcons forward Ryan Vesce scored his third and fourth goals of the season last night in Hershey improving his season totals to 4-6-10 in 10 games this season. Vesce has scored in three of his last four games, including the game-tying marker on November 2 at Albany. Vesce is currently tied for second on the Falcons in scoring, one point behind teammate Norm Milley.
ONE-GOAL GAMES: The Falcons enter tonight's game having already played in seven one-goal games this season. Springfield has a record of 5-0-1-1 in that span and the last four Falcons games have been decided by one-goal. Springfield played in their first shootout of the season on Saturday and the Falcons have also won two of their three overtime games this season.
TAFFE DOWN WITH THE PACK: Former Falcons center Jeff Taffe has been reassigned to the Wolf Pack by their National Hockey League affiliate the New York Rangers. Taffe was acquired by the Rangers on October 18, 2005 from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Jamie Lundmark. Taffe made his Hartford debut on Friday night and collected two assists in the Wolf Pack's victory last night.
CLOSE GAMES AS WELL: Hartford has played 10 games this season and all 10 games have been decided by one goal or less. The Wolf Pack have played in one overtime contest this season on October 21st against Springfield and also participated in one shootout losing to Manchester on October 30th.
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