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GAME DAY BLOG: Falcons vs. Whale

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

6:30 P.M. --
Lineups, goaltenders, and scratches for tonight's game have been released. Let's get the rundown...

Curtis McElhinney makes his eighth start of the season tonight for Springfield, and his first against rival Connecticut as a member of the Falcons. Cam Talbot will start between the pipes for the Whale.

Brad Larsen will scratch Jake Hansen and Tim Spencer up front, so it looks like Wade MacLeod will draw in tonight, as well. On the back end, Greg Amadio and Theo Ruth will not suit up this evening.

5:40 P.M. -- Assuming everyone's healthy (and we have received no reports to the contrary), the Falcons lineup tonight vs. the Whale should look similar to Friday night against Hershey.

Audy-Marchessault - Johansen - Kubalik
Calvert - Drazenovic - Atkinson
Smith - Chaput - Collins
Craig - Joudrey - Russell

Erixon - Prout
Holden - Savard
Moore - Goloubef


5:15 P.M. --What would a Falcons game day blog be without the latest photos from Springfield? Thanks to photographer Liam Edson for these terrific shots from game action:

4:45 P.M. -- A very happy Sunday afternoon to everyone! Welcome back to our game day blog, bringing you everything you need to know about the Springfield Falcons before, during, and after the game. Tonight's game is the first of 12 against the rival Connecticut Whale, so this figures to be an engaging affair once the puck drops at the XL Center in Hartford.

As if being separated by a few miles on Interstate 91 wasn't enough to fuel a spirited rivalry, two of the Whale's top players a year ago have joined the ranks in Springfield. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who picked up 64 points last season for Connecticut, signed an entry-level deal with the Blue Jackets over the summer and has solidifed himself as one of the Falcons' top offensive weapons.

Tim Erixon, who racked up 33 assists while playing big minutes on the Whale blue line last year, was part of an offseason trade with the New York Rangers and has assumed a similar role for Brad Larsen's club in Springfield. He's been shooting the puck, quarterbacking the power play, and has drawn assignments against the opposition's best players.

Perhaps this is the kind of matchup that helps Springfield get back on track. I say that a bit loosely, as the Falcons currently sit a 5-1-2 overall and lead their division -- but they haven't played their best hockey lately. Larsen has been disappointed by their lack of discipline, giving opposing teams an average of six power plays per game. As a result, Larsen kept Audy-Marchessault and Cam Atkinson out of the game following careless second-period penalties on Friday night.

The game day blog is just getting warmed up, but to officially kick it off, we'd like to remind you that bird is still the word.

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