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Falcons Weekly Notes

April 22, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Falcons News Release

Springfield, Mass. - The Northeast Division-champion Springfield Falcons (45-22-5-4) completed a franchise-record regular season this past weekend and will commence the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Manchester Monarchs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Falcons, who finished with the AHL's second-best record and are the Eastern Conference's second seed in the playoffs, will host the first two contests of their opening-round series versus the Monarchs 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.

The Monarchs, the seventh seed, will host Game 3 at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. Game 4, if necessary, will take place in Manchester on Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m.

Should the series go the distance, Springfield would host Game 5 on Sunday, May 5 at 4 p.m.

Below is the Falcons' first-round schedule:

Game 1 - Saturday, Apr. 27, 7 p.m. MassMutual Center

Game 2 - Sunday, Apr. 28, 4 p.m., MassMutual Center

Game 3 - Thursday, May 2, 7 p.m., Verizon Wireless Arena

Game 4 - Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m., Verizon Wireless Arena (if necessary)

Game 5 - Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m., MassMutual Center (if necessary)

Single-game tickets to watch the Falcons compete in postseason action are on sale now at the MassMutual Center Box Office, or online at Ticketmaster.com. For information on cost-saving ticket packages, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or click here.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Springfield 4, Worcester 3

Wednesday, Apr. 17

DCU Center

The Falcons and Sharks skated through a busy first period, with Boone Jenner, Spencer Machacek, and Jake Hansen scoring for Springfield as the clubs exited the opening 20 minutes tied, 3-3. Michael Chaput struck on the power play in the second, as Springfield took the lead for good, 4-3. Curtis McElhinney was put to the test in the third, making several key saves for a game total of 29 stops. With the victory, the Falcons clinched the highest points percentage in club history.

Providence 5, Springfield 3

Friday, Apr. 19

Dunkin' Donuts Center

Springfield entered Friday's game two points shy of Providence for first place in the Eastern Conference at the start of the final weekend of the season, but the Bruins prevailed and captured the AHL's points title. Craig Cunningham and Carter Camper each scored for Providence in the first before Springfield put together a three-goal rally to take the lead. Matthew Ford and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault converted just 29 seconds apart in the opening frame, while Blake Parlett blasted in a shot from the top of the right circle on the power play in the second, as the Falcons notched a 3-2 edge. The Bruins answered, though, scoring three-straight times to close out the contest. Trent Whitfield lit the lamp on a breakaway in the middle stanza, while Chris Bourque and Jordan Caron pulled the Bruins away from the Falcons in the third for the 5-3 victory.

Springfield 3, Adirondack 2

Saturday, Apr. 20

Glens Falls Civic Center

The Falcons tied a franchise record with their 45th victory of the season, closing out the 2012-13 campaign on a winning note with a 3-2 result over the Adirondack Phantoms. Boone Jenner scored early in the contest, before Nick Drazenovic set up a pair of Springfield tallies in the second. Drazenovic embarked on a breakaway with the game tied, 1-1, and centered a puck for Spencer Machacek, who buried the chance from the slot, as Springfield gained a permanent lead. Jake Hansen finished off a Drazenovic look moments later. Rob Bordson deposited a shorthanded goal in the third, but Allen York made a game-ending save in the final moments of the contest, as Springfield completed the season with a 3-2 victory.

WEEK AHEAD

Saturday, Apr. 27 - Game 1, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Springfield vs. Manchester, 7 p.m., MassMutual Center

Sunday, Apr. 28 - Game 2, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Springfield vs. Manchester, 4 p.m., MassMutual Center

PREVIEWING THE EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

The Falcons went 4-1-0-1 against the Monarchs this season, putting together a 1-1-0-1 mark in Springfield while sweeping the action in Manchester, going 3-0-0-0 at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Springfield recorded three notable victories over Manchester this year. On Nov. 30, the Falcons overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period on the road by scoring five times to prevail, 5-4. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Springfield's leading scorer in 2012-13, netted his first-career hat trick in Manchester on Jan. 15, as the Falcons won, 7-5. Curtis McElhinney recorded a Falcons all-time record ninth shutout in the final meeting between the clubs on Mar. 20, pacing Springfield to a 2-0 victory over Manchester at the MassMutual Center.

Springfield and Manchester have never met in the postseason. The Falcons and Monarchs have each advanced as far as the conference finals. Springfield made it to the conference finals in 1997 before falling to Hershey. Manchester ventured to the conference finals in 2007 and 201-. Like the Falcons, the Monarchs succumbed to the Bears in their two appearances in the AHL's semifinals.

Below is the Falcons/Monarchs 2012-13 series rundown:

Nov. 24, 2012: Manchester 4 at Springfield 3 (SO)

Nov. 30, 2012: Springfield 5 at Manchester 4

Dec. 1, 2012: Manchester 2 at Springfield 1

Dec. 16, 2012: Springfield 3 at Manchester 2 (SO)

Jan. 15 2013: Springfield 7 at Manchester 5

Mar. 20, 2013: Springfield 2 vs. Manchester 0

A RECORD SEASON

The following are franchise records set or equaled by the Falcons during their recently-finished 76-game schedule:

- Highest points percentage, .651 (previous record: .625, 1997-98)

- Most wins (tied), 45 (previously set: 1997-98)

- Most games above .500, 23 (previous record: 21, 1995-96)

- Most road wins, (tied) 21 (previously set, 1997-98)

- Highest road points percentage, .618 (previous record: .575, 1997-98)

- Fewest regulation losses (tied), 22 (previously set: 1995-96)

- Fewest regulation and overtime losses combined (tied), 27 (previously set: 1995-96, 1996-97)

- Fewest goals allowed, 186 (previous record: 215, 1995-96)

- Lowest goals-against average, 2.45 (previous record: 2.69, 1995-96)

- Fewest penalty minutes, 1,248 (previous record: 1,281, 2006-07)

Additionally, the Falcons came up just one point short of setting a record for the most points in a season. Springfield registered 99 points over 76 contests, one shy of its club-record 100, posted in the 80-game season of 1995-96.

SECOND TO NONE

The Falcons' 99 points were the second most in the AHL in 2012-13, finishing behind only the Providence Bruins' 105.

HOT AT HOME

Springfield had its most successful season on home ice in 15 years, going 24-10-1-3 at the MassMutual Center. The Falcons' 52 points at home were the fourth most in the AHL. Their .684 points percentage at "'The Nest" was the third best in franchise history. The club mark is .725, set in 1996-97.

RULING THE ROAD

Springfield's record of 21-12-4-1 in away competition was the best in team history. The Falcons finished above .500 on the road for the first time since they went 21-15-4 away from the MassMutual Center in 1997-98.

AT THE TOP

The Falcons ended the regular season with the highest goal differential in the AHL of +49, beating second-place Syracuse by three goals for the league lead. Springfield was the only team to have a top five offense and defense in 2012-13. The Falcons tied for fifth in the league with 235 goals scored, and were third with 186 goals allowed.

NO LOOKING BACK

On Oct. 26, Springfield defeated Providence, 3-0, to move into first place in the Northeast Division. The Falcons would not relinquish that spot for the rest of the season, putting together a near wire-to-wire performance to claim the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy as the Northeast's champion. The division title was the Falcons' third in their history, and first since 1997-98.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

Springfield topped the AHL with 35 victories when leading after two periods this season, going 35-1-0-0 in that situation. The Falcons' lone defeat when entering the third period with an advantage came on Dec. 19 in Portland, when Springfield saw a 2-1 second-intermission cushion turn into a 3-2 loss. The Falcons closed out the season with 22-consecutive wins when leading after 40 minutes.

'FOUR' SURE

When scoring exactly four goals this season, the Falcons were 14-0-0-0. Springfield was 27-0-1-0 when striking four or more times in a game.

'TWO' MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Springfield allowed two goals or less in 40 of its 76 games this season, going 36-4-0-0 when relinquishing fewer than three tallies. The Falcons held their opponents to under two goals 18 times, winning each of those games.

BEST DAY OF THE WEEK

The Falcons were 14-3-0-0 in Sunday competition this season.

ONE TO REMEMBER

On Nov. 4, the Falcons defeated the Connecticut Whale on the road, 10-2. The 10 goals were the second most scored by an AHL club this season, while the eight-goal victory was the largest win by any team in 2012-13. Springfield's 10-goal output was its highest since it defeated then-reigning Calder Cup-champion Providence, 14-2, on Dec. 30, 1999.

INDIVIDUAL INSCRIPTIONS

While the Falcons as a team put together a milestone season, Springfield players also rewrote club records in 2012-13:

- Curtis McElhinney set the Falcons single-season and career shutouts record with nine (previous single-season record: five by Manny Legace, 1995-96; previous career record: Legace over 153-career games)

- McElhinney's .923 save percentage was the highest by a Falcons goaltender to play in a minimum of 25 games (previous record: .922, Jean-Marc Pelletier, 2003-04)

- Nick Holden's +24 rating was the highest by a Falcons player in one season (previous record: +23, John Stevens, 1995-96; Danny Briere, 1997-98)

- Ryan Craig scored 12 power-play goals to tie the franchise career record of 29 (shared by Briere, Jean-Guy Trudel)

- Matt Calvert scored a shorthanded goal to tie the franchise career record of four (shared by Jeff Daniels, Jason Jaspers, Norm Milley, Erik Westrum)

MCELHINNEY'S MILESTONE YEAR

Curtis McElhinney was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team in 2012-13. McElhinney registered a league-high nine shutouts, the most in one season by a goaltender in the 70-year history of AHL hockey in Springfield. The eighth-year pro began the year by garnering four shutouts in his first 10 starts, including consecutive clean sheets on Nov. 9 against Connecticut and Nov. 11 versus Norfolk. McElhinney was selected as the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October, and the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 11. His 29 wins ranked third in the AHL, and were second in Falcons history to Scott Langkow's 30, notched in 1997-98. McElhinney checked in seventh in the league with a .923 save percentage, and 10th with a 2.32 goals-against average. His save percentage and goals-against average are first in Falcons history among goaltenders who have played in 25 games in their Springfield career.

'JAM' COMPLETES SWEEP

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault led Springfield with 67 points, 21 goals, and 46 assists in 2012-13. Audy-Marchessault, voted to the AHL First All-Star Team, was the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for January, a 31-day period during which he registered his first-career hat trick and led the league with 17 points (8g-9a). His spin-o-rama shootout-winning goal in the completion of the suspended Feb. 17 game on Mar. 1 made ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 that evening as the third highlight.

PROVIDING THE POWER

Nick Drazenovic and Ryan Craig were Springfield's most productive contributors on the power play in the regular season. Drazenovic checked in second in the AHL with 30 points on the man advantage (10g-20a), while Craig topped the Falcons with 12 power-play goals and tied for fifth in the league with 26 points, also adding 14 assists.

BLUE-LINE BREAKTHROUGH

Nick Holden's +24 rating set a Falcons record and placed him fourth among AHL defensemen. The fifth-year pro tied for eighth among the league's blueliners with 39 points (9g-30a), leading Springfield defensemen in scoring.

FRESHMEN BATTLE FOR FIRST

Michael Chaput edged out Sean Collins for the Falcons' rookie-scoring lead by one point. Chaput accumulated 32 points (13g-19a) and topped AHL first-year skaters in January with 12 points (4g-8a). Collins amassed 31 points (11g-20a), and led Springfield rookies with a +15 rating.

MAKING AN IMPACT

Matthew Ford, Boone Jenner, Spencer Machacek, and Blake Parlett all had a positive impact on the Falcons after joining the club late in the season. Ford, acquired by Columbus from Philadelphia on Mar. 12, notched 11 points (5g-6a) in 18 contests. Jenner, reassigned by Columbus from Oshawa (OHL) on Apr. 11, scored three goals and added an assist for four points in five games. Machacek picked up 14 points (5g-9a) in 18 outings after coming over in a trade to Columbus from Winnipeg on Mar. 10. Parlett, added by Columbus from the New York Rangers on Apr. 3, picked up four points (2g-2a) in eight appearances.

TOUGH CUSTOMER

Dalton Smith was second among AHL rookies with 128 penalty minutes and 14 majors, leading Springfield in both categories.

SEASON AWARDS

Below are the Falcons' team awards, which were announced during Fan Appreciation Weekend on Apr. 13 and 14:

Ross Lowe Memorial Most Valuable Player - Curtis McElhinney

Forward of the Year - Nick Drazenovic

Al Lawrence Best Defensive Player - Nick Holden

Jim Denver Good Guy - Nick Holden

Ronald Brault Player's Player - Ryan Craig

Dick Casey True Grit - Andrew Joudrey

Florence Kurdziel Unsung Hero - Ryan Russell

Stevens Jewelers Diamond in the Rough - Sean Collins

Muriel Strauss Good Sportsmanship - Jake Hansen

SHOP AT THE FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP!

Fans are encouraged to wear their red, white, and blue apparel to Falcons playoff games. The best place to purchase Falcons gear is at 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.

FALCONS NEST PRO SHOP AT 45 FALCONS WAY STORE HOURS

Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LOCK IN YOUR SEAT FOR 2013-14

Falcons fans are invited to reserve their ticket packages for the 2013-14 season. Fans can to stop by "Ticket Headquarters" behind section 31 at The Nest during any Springfield home game to lock in their spot for the Falcons' 20th AHL season.

Adult season ticket prices remain the same for 2013-14, giving fans the opportunity to watch the Falcons compete in all 38 home contests at the MassMutual Center for only $13/game. Season ticket packages in 2013-14 will come with a no-waste guarantee, giving fans the opportunity to exchange their unused tickets for future home games. Fans can also take advantage of 22 and 10-game ticket packages next season.

The Falcons will also continue to offer flex packages for fans who want to choose what games they want to attend and how many people they want to bring to each contest. Flex packages are broken down into 44, 20, and 12-ticket plans.

Youth ticket packages and flex plans are also available in 2013-14 for children ages 14 and under.

A $50 non-refundable deposit per seat is required.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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