Ryan Johansen's clutch third-period goal may be just the spark Springfield needs to get itself righted this afternoon in Manchester.
Despite the eventual overtime loss -- and the extra sessions have been brutally unkind to the Falcons this season -- there was such a burst of energy from the goal and how it seemingly reversed a frustrating third period in one fell swoop.
Of course, the positives were temporarily erased on a sloppy game-winner, but my read on things was that the Falcons checked another item off their list. They've led a lot of games in the late stages and have engineered some thrilling comebacks in the third period (a couple of them from two goals down or more), but never really scored that big goal with the goaltender on the bench and the fans up out of their seats.
They got it last night, at a time when they desperately needed it.
The IceCaps were the better club in the third period and grabbed a lead thanks to Ray Sawada, who also scored the game-tying goal last Saturday in St. John's. Springfield ran into some penalty trouble, disrupted its own flow and got out of rhythm despite playing pretty well at even strength (and they've done so all year).
Another from the positive department: Sean Collins scored again for the Falcons last night, his sixth of the season coming on a nice re-direct at the front of the net. Brad Larsen told Aaron Portzline of The Dispatch this week that Collins has been their "unsung hero," and it's easy to see why.
So, can the Falcons take a little of that energy from Johansen's rally goal to Manchester this afternoon? They could really use a full two points and walk out with a win, much like they did back on November 30.
Springfield battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period and held on for a 5-4 win, perhaps one of their finest and most dramatic moments of the season.
And now, for my random assortment of pre-game notes:
-- Thought Allen York made a good account of himself in his Falcons debut last night. All three IceCaps goals can't be faulted to the goaltender, but more so to defensive lapses in the key areas of the ice. Especially the overtime winner...nothing the goalie can do.
-- Dalton Prout engaged himself in a whale of a bout with Ryan Schnell of St. John's. Both guys threw a boatload of haymakers and while I'd give the decision to Prout, it was one of the best fights I've seen in a while.
-- Cam Atkinson's five-game goal scoring streak came to a halt, but his points streak is still alive after picking up an assist on Johansen's goal that came with 27.1 seconds left.
-- I'm calling a Falcons win today. I'll leave you with that.