HERSHEY BEARS (4-3-1) 3, SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (5-1-2) 2 - SHOOTOUT
MassMutual Center | Springfield, Mass.
Curtis McElhinney did just about everything he could, but in the end, the Falcons came up one goal short.
Days after being named the American Hockey League's goaltender of the month for October, the 29-year-old was his usual steady self between the pipes for Springfield in a heated battle with the Hershey Bears. The Falcons led twice and never trailed until the final score was decided, as Stan Galiev notched the game-winning tally in the seventh round of the shootout for a 3-2 Bears win.
Without the services of Jonathan Audy-Marchessault or Cam Atkinson -- neither of which played in the third period -- the Falcons generated plenty of chances but couldn't dent Braden Holtby for a third time.
Michael Chaput scored his first professional goal on a rebound in the first period, staking Springfield to an early 1-0 lead. It marked the seventh consecutive game in which the Falcons drew first blood, as Chaput was camped in the slot and snuck a loose puck between the pads of Holtby.
Bears captain Boyd Kane found a loose puck of his own later in the first period, and lifted a backhander under the crossbar to tie the game at 1-1.
Springfield took the lead for the second time early in the second period, as Ryan Johansen -- who was dominant in this game for the Falcons, and quite possibly the best player on the ice for either side -- broke out of his own end on a 2-on-1 with JAM. Johansen slid a beautiful pass to the back post and JAM tipped it into the top corner to forge the Falcons ahead.
Matt Pope capitalized on some ragged play around the Springfield net and drew Hershey level later in the middle frame, and then the Falcons fell back into some old habits. They paraded to the penalty box and gave the Bears a helping of chances to take the lead, but extra time was required to settle it.
Holtby has been a significant factor in the Bears' strong play of late, and it was no secret why after watching him tonight. He was a rock between the pipes for Hershey in the third period and overtime, then went on to stop six of the seven Falcons shooters in the shootout -- including the last half-dozen in a row.
It wasn't a particular moment that got the Bears back on track in this game, but their goaltender's performance held them together when they needed it most.
1. Stanislav Galiev (HER) -- GWG in shootout
2. Michael Chaput (SPR) -- goal
3. Matt Pope- (HER) -- goal
at Connecticut Whale
XL Center | Hartford, CT
Sunday, 7 p.m.