SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (6-1-2) 10, CONNECTICUT WHALE (4-4-1) 2
XL Center | Hartford, CT
Pardon the pun, but this was a whale of a game for Springfield tonight in Hartford.
Were the Falcons overwhelming and flat-out dominant at times in the game? Absolutely, but the Connecticut Whale laid a big old egg on home ice, surrendering nine goals at even strength en route to a 10-2 final score at the XL Center.
After a message-sending third period by head coach Brad Larsen on Friday night, the Falcons were much more disciplined and played a strong team game for 60 minutes. Five players registered multi-point outings, but it was former Whale defenseman Tim Erixon leading the way.
The 21-year-old blue liner scored the Falcons' first goal of the game, and picked up three more assists along the way for a four-point night. Erixon also became the first AHL defenseman with a +6 rating in a single game since Mathieu Roy (Dec. 3, 2010).
In fact, both former Whale players in the Springfield lineup had a happy homecoming.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, benched in the third period and overtime on Friday, came back strong tonight and gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead with gorgeous goal in the first period. JAM finished with two assists, and was the first Springfield player to break the 10-point plateau this season.
Ryan Johansen scored a pair of nifty goals tonight, including a backhander under the crossbar at 16:23 of the second period off a slick pass from JAM. Johansen's first tally of the night was a re-direction in the slot, as he tipped in a point blast from Nick Holden earlier in the middle frame.
Connecticut used two goaltenders: Cam Talbot, who was pulled after yielding three goals on 11 shots, and 6-foot-8 Jason Missiaen. The Whale closed the gap to 6-2 with a power-play goal to open the third period, but Springfield poured it on after that.
Andrew Joudrey,Cam Atkinson, Nick Drazenovic and Michael Chaput scored third-period goals for the Falcons, who scored the most goals in a game since they crushed Providence by a 14-2 final in 1999.
Springfield scored its 10 goals on just 33 total shots.
Not the easiest game to select such a moment, but we'll go with Johansen's 4-0 goal in the second period. We've seen time and again (especially in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs) that not even a 3-0 lead is "safe" in hockey anymore, and though they dominated the first period, the Falcons were by no means in the clear.
Holden made it happen with a really nice heads-up play, shooting for Johansen in the slot area. The big center did the rest, getting a big chunk of the puck and re-directing it to the opposite post at 3:56 of the period.
1. Tim Erixon (SPR) - goal, three assists (+6)
2. Cam Atkinson (SPR) - goal (+3)
3. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (SPR) - goal, two assists (+4)
vs. Connecticut Whale
MassMutual Center | Springfield, MA
Friday, 7 p.m.