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Golden opportunity for Falcons to rebound today

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Sometimes, a little familiarity can be the remedy.

The Falcons are hoping that's the case this afternoon at MassMutual Center, when they take on rival Connecticut in a game they would absolutely love to win. It's been tough sledding this weekend for Springfield, which followed up a road sweep at Norfolk with an overtime loss in Portland on Friday and a lackluster shootout loss to Manchester last night.

And last night's game was probably the hardest to stomach. Ryan Johansen scored first for the Falcons and they were hot out of the gates, but the Monarchs capitalized on (more) penalty trouble by Springfield and took a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

But the Falcons chipped away. Jake Hansen's first professional goal brought them within one -- and really changed the flow of the game -- before Cam Atkinson scored a power play goal to tie it up with just under seven minutes to play, and it looked as if Springfield was back in business.

They had chance after chance late in the third period and overtime, but couldn't get a fourth puck behind Peter Mannino. The shootout has not been kind to the Falcons at all this season, and such was the case last night.

Here we are this afternoon, and the Falcons have a chance to right the ship against the Whale, a team they've played very well this year. Of course, there was the 10-2 drubbing at XL Center in Hartford that saw just about everyone get on the scoresheet.

Curtis McElhinney
also picked up a 2-0 shutout over Connecticut the next Friday night, so there's at least some good vibes heading into today's game.

Some things I'll be tracking today:

-- How will the Falcons start the game? They've been good at scoring first and setting the tempo, and especially so on home ice. An early goal today against Connecticut will be a big boost and would go a long way toward a much-needed win.

-- Can we expect a big day from Tim Erixon? Wouldn't be out of the question, considering how well he's played against his former club this year. He started with a four-point night (in the 10-2 win), and then scored both goals in Springfield's 2-0 win.

-- Is this Paul Dainton's day? I would say there's a good chance, but then again, I was wrong last night when it appeared Dainton would start over McElhinney. Being the third game in three days, it's a prime spot for Dainton to step in and deliver a solid performance when his battery mate needs a day off.

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