Falcons Weekly Notes
Springfield, Mass. - The Springfield Falcons (24-9-3-3) are on a five-game winning streak for the first time since March of 1998 and earned victories in all four contests last week, collecting two points against Manchester, Connecticut, Albany, and Bridgeport. Springfield extended its lead in the Northeast Division to 12 points over Bridgeport with a weekend-ending win against the Sound Tigers on Sunday and pulled into a tie for first place with the Binghamton Senators for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Falcons seek their third six-game winning streak in franchise history on Wednesday night when they head to Albany to battle the Devils.
Springfield returns home on Friday to host the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. 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 (MannysTV.com) as part of "Flat-Screen Friday."
The Falcons end their weekend in Connecticut on Saturday against the Whale at the XL Center.
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).
WEEK IN REVIEW
Springfield 7, Manchester 5
Tuesday, Jan. 15
Verizon Wireless Arena
Springfield earned one of its wildest victories of the season in a game dominated by Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who netted the Falcons' first hat trick since Feb. 19, 2011. Audy-Marchessault scored twice in the first period, as Springfield emerged from the opening 20 minutes with a 3-2 lead. Wade MacLeod struck in highlight-reel fashion for his first goal of the year early in the second, as Springfield opened its advantage to 4-2. The Monarchs rallied with goals from Nick Deslauriers and Tanner Pearson, as the clubs exited the middle frame tied, 4-4. Tomas Kubalik put the Falcons in front just 43 seconds into the third, striking from a sharp angle on the right side to make it 5-4. After Andy Andreoff tied the game midway through the final stanza, the Falcons went on their second and final power play of the game. Audy-Marchessault corralled a feed from Nick Holden and rocketed a shot by Jean-Francois Berube from the left circle, as the Falcons went up, 6-5. Michael Chaput sealed the contest by scoring his second goal of the night with 4:12 remaining in regulation, as the Falcons exited Manchester with a 7-5 victory.
Springfield 4, Connecticut 2
Friday, Jan. 18
After falling behind in the opening minute of the game on a goal by Kris Newbury, Springfield countered with four-straight tallies to pull away from Connecticut. Tim Erixon's stylish goal at 4:07 of the first period tied the contest, while Nick Drazenovic finished off a two-on-one rush near the midway point of the stanza to give Springfield the lead for good. Ryan Craig knocked down an Erixon blue-line shot in the second period and pushed the puck in, then Tomas Kubalik tipped in a Nick Holden blast on the power play to make it 4-1. Newbury's goal in the last minute of the contest yielded Springfield's lead to 4-2, the eventual final score. Allen York set aside 24 of 26 shots for his third-straight victory.
Springfield 2, Albany 1 (SO)
Saturday, Jan. 19
Nick Drazenovic scored on the power play at 7:10 of the opening period, putting in a rebound from a Tim Erixon drive, as Springfield captured a 1-0 edge. Eric Gelinas converted for Albany on a five-on-three man advantage moments later, tying the game, 1-1. Springfield fought off two more five-on-threes, with penalty killers Andrew Joudrey and Ryan Russell leading the way for the Falcons. The Devils peppered Paul Dainton in the final two periods with 22 shots, but the netminder held his own, making several critical saves late. Dainton stopped breakaway bids by Joe Whitney and Harri Pesonen in the final moments of regulation, and then foiled chances by Tim Sestito and Pesonen in the opening stages of overtime. Sean Collins and Wade MacLeod struck in the shootout, while Dainton stopped four of Albany's five attempts, as Springfield prevailed, 2-1. Dainton set aside 35 of 36 shots in the victory.
Springfield 4, Bridgeport 1
Sunday, Jan. 20
Webster Bank Arena
The Falcons went into the Sunday's contest looking to seal a perfect four-for-four week and clinch their first five-game winning streak in nearly 15 years. Springfield needed only 12 seconds of power-play time on its first opportunity of the game to take a 1-0 lead, as Nick Drazenovic snapped a puck by Kevin Poulin from the right circle. In the second period, Wade MacLeod snapped a puck off of a Sound Tiger and just over the goal line, as Springfield went up, 2-0. Nick Holden finished off a shorthanded rush by driving a puck home from the slot later in the period, and then netted a second goal in the final frame with a shot that deflected in from the left point. Jack Combs ended Paul Dainton's shutout bid with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Falcons exited Bridgeport winners, 4-1.
Wednesday, Jan. 23 - Springfield at Albany, Times Union Center, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 25 - Springfield vs. Worcester, MassMutual Center, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26 - Springfield at Connecticut, XL Center, 7:00 p.m.
A LONG TIME COMING
Springfield had not won four-straight games in over six years and had not put together victories in five-consecutive contests in almost 15 years entering the weekend, but the Falcons achieved the two seemingly-unattainable goals in back-to-back outings on Saturday and Sunday. The Falcons' last four-game winning streak occurred from Dec. 23 to 30, 2006. Springfield had failed in each of its 12 attempts since that point at achieving a four-game winning streak, including three times this season. The Falcons last posted victories in five-straight games during their franchise-record nine-game winning from Mar. 6 to 28, 1998. Springfield had lost in six chances at obtaining a five-game winning over the previous 15 campaigns. The current five-game winning streak is the fourth of that length in franchise history. Springfield battles for its third six-game winning streak in the club's 19 years on Wednesday in Albany.
RECORD FIRST HALF ACCOMPLISHED
Springfield's record of 23-9-3-3 (.684) through the first half of the season was the best in franchise history.
The Falcons' previous mark for the best opening half was in 1995-1996, when Springfield went 23-9-5-3 (.675) in the first 40 games of the 80-contest campaign.
RACKING UP THE POINTS
The Falcons have posted points in each of their last seven games (6-0-1-0), tying their 2012-2013 season high. The seven-game points streak is Springfield's 10th of that length in franchise history. The record for the longest points streak in Falcons history is nine, set twice (Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, 1996, 7-0-2-0; Mar. 6 to 28, 1998; 9-0-0-0). Springfield will search for its fourth eight-game point streak in club history on Wednesday.
FOUR OF A KIND
Springfield's four-win week was its first since it went 4-1-0-0 in five contests from Nov. 11 to 17, 2002.
Each of the four games last week involved a milestone:
Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Manchester: Jonathan Audy-Marchessault registered the first hat trick of his career and Springfield's first in 136 games, dating back to Kyle Wilson's three-goal outing on Feb. 19, 2011 against Worcester.
Friday, Jan. 18, vs. Connecticut: Bryan Helmer became the third player in league history to skate in 19 AHL seasons when he made his 2012-2013 Falcons debut. He was the first 40-year-old to play in a game for Springfield.
Saturday, Jan. 19, vs. Albany: The Falcons won four-straight games for the first time since Dec. 23 to 30, 2006 and closed out the best first half of a season in franchise history with a 23-9-3-3 (.684) record.
Sunday, Jan. 20, at Bridgeport: Springfield earned a fifth-straight victory for the first time since collecting nine-straight wins from Mar. 6 to 28, 1998. The four-win week was the first for the Falcons since Nov. 11 to 17, 2002.
THREE'S A CHARM
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Tim Erixon, and Curtis McElhinney will participate with the Eastern Conference in the 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, R.I. on Sunday, Jan. 27 and Monday, Jan. 28. This marks the third time in Falcons history that three players will represent the club at the AHL All-Star Classic. Hnat Domenichelli, Scott Langkow, and Rob Murray made it in 1997, while Robert Esche, Radoslav Suchy, and Brad Tiley were selected in 1999.
Springfield has scored power-play goals in each of the last 11 contests, striking twice more on the man advantage Sunday to extend its streak. The Falcons have climbed to fourth in the league on the power play at 21.2% after entering the first game of the streak on Dec. 29 ninth in the AHL at 18.1%. Springfield is clicking at 30.6% (15/49) on the man advantage during this stretch.
"JAM" HAS BIG WEEK
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had seven points (3g-4a) in the four wins this past week, including his first-career hat trick on Tuesday in Manchester. Audy-Marchessault is on a career-high seven-game point streak (7g-7a). He is the third Falcon to compile a point streak of at least seven games this season, along with Cam Atkinson (nine games, 7g-7a) and David Savard (eight games, 2g-8a). Audy-Marchessault leads the Falcons with 44 points, putting him third in the league in that category. The Quebec City native has 28 assists, placing him in a tie for second in the AHL. He is one shy of Atkinson's team lead of 17 goals. Audy-Marchessault is tied for fourth in the league at +17, leading the Falcons in that category.
Nick Drazenovic scored goals in all three games on the weekend and has points in five-consecutive contests (3g-8a). The fifth-year pro is tied with Cam Atkinson and Ryan Craig for the team lead with seven power-play goals, is second on the Falcons with 24 assists, is third with 37 points, and is fourth with 13 goals. Drazenovic's point total places him into a tie for sixth in the AHL. His 20 power-play points (7g-13a) position him third in the league.
MACLEOD CELEBRATES IN STYLE
One night after depositing the shootout-winning goal against Albany, Wade MacLeod celebrated his 26th birthday by scoring the game-winning goal on Sunday in Bridgeport. MacLeod netted his first two goals of the season this past week, also converting on Tuesday in Manchester.
Nick Holden doubled his entire 2012-2013 goal production on Sunday with a pair of tallies. The two-goal game was the second of his career. The St. Albert, Alberta product also scored twice with the Falcons on Feb. 27, 2011 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Holden (4g-16a) is just five points shy of equaling his career high of 25 points (4g-21a), set in 2010-2011.
MCELHINNEY STAYS ON TOP
Despite not playing in the four games this past week, Curtis McElhinney continues to top the AHL with a Falcons-record six shutouts. McElhinney is second in the league with 17 wins, is sixth with a.928 save percentage, and is eighth with a 2.25 goals-against average.
ALONG CAME PAULY
Although Curtis McElhinney has six shutouts this season, Paul Dainton put together perhaps the best performance by a Springfield netminder in 2012-2013 on Saturday. Receiving his first start for Springfield since Dec. 1, Dainton made several remarkable saves while receiving consistent pressure from the Devils. The second-year pro turned aside point-blank chances by Harri Pesonen and Joe Whitney with the clock winding down in regulation, sending the contest into overtime. During the initial stages of the sudden-death period, Dainton robbed Tim Sestito's one-timer on the doorstep, then knocked down Pesonen's follow-up bid. He set aside four of five shots in the shootout for the victory. Dainton nearly posted his first shutout of 2012-2013 and second of his AHL career on Sunday before Bridgeport scored in the final minute. In seven games this season, the Bradford, Ontario native is 3-3-1 with a .942 save percentage and a 1.82 goals-against average.
Springfield continued its stranglehold of Sunday action this season, improving to 9-1-0-0 on the last day of the weekend. The Falcons are perfect on the road in Sunday competition in 2012-2013, with a 5-0-0-0 mark. Springfield is now 5-1-0-0 in the final game of a three-in-three stretch this season, with each of those contests coming on a Sunday. The Falcons are 4-0-0-0 on the road at the end of a three-in-three in 2012-2013.
SECOND IS THE BEST
The Falcons are second in the league in both offense and defense, scoring 3.41 goals/game while allowing 2.41 goals/game. Springfield's +39 goals differential is the highest in the AHL.
BLUE JACKETS KICK OFF SEASON WITH WIN
The Columbus Blue Jackets, Springfield's NHL affiliate, opened their 2012-2013 season on Saturday night with a 3-2 shootout win over the Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets host the Detroit Red Wings in their home opener Monday night, with the 7:30 p.m. game televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
PARTICIPATE IN BIG Y 24-HOUR OUTDOOR GAME
Hockey players young and old are invited to participate in the 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y, which will take place behind the historic Coliseum on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield from Saturday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 19.
A unique event that brings hockey back to its roots, The 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y honors the history of the sport in Western Mass. and raises awareness for the area's youth programs and adult hockey leagues.
Groups are invited to sign up for one hour of hockey, with time slots beginning at noon on Feb. 9 and lasting through noon on Feb. 10. Adult teams will play two-on-two games, while youth teams will play three-on-three. Pond hockey rules apply to all contests.
All players in the 24-Hour Outdoor Game presented by Big Y receive two tickets to the Falcons game against the Portland Pirates on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.
On-ice games are weather permitting, and there are no refunds for weather-related cancellations. If ice is not available, teams will play on a ball-hockey arena in proximity to the outdoor rink.
To register for the 24-Hour Outdoor Hockey Game, contact Don Moorhouse through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (413) 739-GOAL ext. 102. Upon registering, participants will receive information on completing payment.
NOMINATE A HERO AMONG US
Throughout the season, fans can submit a nomination for TD Bank's "Heroes Among Us" program. Nominees can include teachers, doctors, firefighters, community volunteers, and other individuals you think deserve to be honored at a Falcons game. For more information and to nominate, click here.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF JANUARY SPECIALS AT FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP
Take advantage of January 25% off specials at the Falcons Nest Pro Shop! Items discounted at 25% off include Reebok Center Ice Jackets, Traverse Winter Jackets, red youth Falcons replica jerseys, scarves, and winter hats.
The Tower Square location of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop is open for the remainder of the season 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday and Thursday.
The Tower Square venue, located at 1500 Main St. in downtown Springfield, gives fans a chance to browse a wide variety of Falcons merchandise and ticket packages in a popular downtown location.
Fans can continue to shop for all Falcons gear and ticket packages at the primary home of the Falcons Nest Pro Shop, located inside the team office at 45 Falcons Way, during normal business hours or online by clicking here. The Falcons Nest Pro Shop moves to the MassMutual Center concourse behind section 27 during all home games.
TOWER SQUARE STORE HOURS
Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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