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POST GAME: Falcons 4, Phantoms 0

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

MassMutual Center | Springfield, MA
Attendance: 2,109

Prior to this afternoon's game, Brad Larsen said that regardless of any lineup changes he makes, the Falcons needed to wipe the slate clean and start over. This game would be an entirely different animal, he cautioned, and it turned out he was right.

Roles were reversed to open this contest as the Adirondack Phantoms got the start they were looking for, but could not capitalize on a number of quality opportunities. They were gifted two 5-on-3 power plays in the first period alone and generated 11 shots on goal in the opening stanza -- only to come up empty.

The Phantoms were 0-for-4 on the power play in the first period and the last penalty kill seemed to energize the Falcons, who were back on their heels for the first time in this very young season. Springfield relied on its top line to get things going, and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault did just that. He won a puck battle low in the offensive zone and slipped a pass to Ryan Johansen, who put on a dangling clinic on his way to the cage.

His last move was cutting across the paint and using his long reach to slam the puck into the far side, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 15:53 of the period. The goal was as artful as it was sorelyt needed, as it deflated the Phantoms and gave the home side an edge in momentum headed to the dressing room.

The second period started eerily similar to the way it did last night -- with a goal that was the product of some good fortune. Dalton Prout reached to keep the puck in at the point and flicked a wrister on the net that hit a Phantoms player before fluttering to goaltender Cal Heeter.

Heeter reacted late and probably never saw the puck, but the resulting 2-0 lead jsut 30 seconds in was another "really?" moment for Adirondack. They were aggressive in the second period, as well, and had a couple of power play chances that weren't cashed in.

On the Falcons' first man advantage of the second period, John Moore set up Jonathan Audy-Marchessault for a one-timer at the left circle that boosted the lead to 3-0. Less than two minutes later, Ryan Craig picked up his second goal in as many nights off a centering pass from Cody Bass.

The Falcons start 2-0-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season and, as Ryan Johansen said, have a little bit of swagger going on. Opening with two wins doesn't guarantee anything, he said, but two losses can set you back right away.

It was McElhinney's day, and he made several key saves to keep the ball rolling for Springfield. His finest of the afternoon came against Phantoms forward Eric Wellwood, who looked to have a for-sure goal that would have pulled Adirondack within a couple of goals with plenty of game to be played.

McElhinney was bumped into at the side of the net and stumbled just as Wellwood got the puck at the side of the net. Wellwood wanted to go top shelf but McElhinney dove across to knock the puck down and keep the Phantoms off the board.

1. Curtis McElhinney - 19 saves (16th pro shutout)
2. Ryan Craig - goal, assist
3. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault - goal, assist

vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Friday, Oct. 19 | 7 p.m.
MassMutual Center
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