Falcons Upend Portland in Overtime, 2-1
Springfield, Mass. Shane Willis scored with 1:15 remaining in overtime to propel the Springfield Falcons to a 2-1 win over the Portland Pirates at the Springfield Civic Center on Friday night. Falcons goaltender Jamie Storr stopped 24 of 25 shots to register his fifth win of the season. Center Ryan Craig scored during a second period power play for the Falcons. With the win, the Falcons improved their record to 4-1-1-0 over their last six games.
Willis ended the contest on the Falcons sixth shot of overtime. The 27-year-old redirected a centering pass from the left wing boards by rookie defenseman Paul Ranger to score the game winner. Willis chipped the puck from the slot over the shoulder of Portland netminder Maxime Ouellet for his ninth marker of the campaign.
The Falcons outshot Portland, 33-25, on the night.
Including Friday nights overtime win by the Falcons, all four games of the season series between Springfield and Portland have been tied at the end of regulation. The Falcons are 2-0-1-1 versus the Pirates this season. The clubs next meet on Dec. 23 in Portland.
After a scoreless first period, the Falcons grabbed a 1-0 lead 9:50 into the second period with a power-play goal scored by Craig. Defenseman Nikos Tselios helped create the goal by holding the puck in at the left point as the Pirates attempted to clear their zone. Rookie Adam Henrich collected the puck along the boards and centered the puck to Craig who promptly snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Portland netminder Maxime Ouellet. The goal was Craigs team-leading 10th of the season. The Falcons man advantage was the result of a major penalty issued to Portland forward Jakub Klepis for high sticking Tselios.
The Pirates received an opportunity to pull even when a high-sticking major to Springfields Andre Deveaux at 13:25 was followed by a roughing minor assessed to Craig 18 seconds later gave Portland a full two minutes of a five-on-three man advantage. However, Falcons penalty killers held the Pirates at bay throughout the two-man advantage as well as the remainder of the five-minute power play to hold onto the one-goal lead. The penalty kill included a sparkling pad save by Storr to rob Klepis on a one-timer from the left face-off circle during the five-on-three advantage.
For the sixth consecutive game, Springfield carried a lead into the third period.
Portland, however, capitalized on their sixth power play of the night to tie the contest, 1-1, with 11:04 left in regulation. Pirates leading scorer Trent Whitfield knocked the puck between the pads of Storr after a shot bounced off the endboards to the edge of the crease.
The Falcons converted one of five power-play chances in the game and killed off five of the six man advantages held by the Pirates. Portlands power-play tally in the third period ended a run of 21 consecutive successful penalty kills by Springfield over the last four games.
The Falcons will be back in action on the home ice of the Civic Center on Saturday night as the club takes on the Albany River Rats. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available through the Civic Center box office and can be ordered by phone at (413) 787-6600 or (800) 639-8602. Tickets can also be ordered online through the Falcons official web site, www.falconsahl.com.
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American Hockey League Stories from December 3, 2004
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