The Springfield Report is back, and there's quite a bit of catching up to do. Two Falcons were named to the AHL All-Star Team, a new acquisition made an instant impact, and six of Springfield's last eight games went into overtime. Let's dive right in.
First of all, congratulations to Anton Forsberg and Austin Madaisky, who can now add "2014-15 AHL All-Star" to their resumes. Madaisky's line this season is 9-20-29 in 36 games, more than tripling his point total from all of last season. As for Forsberg, he's been outstanding, going 16-4-0 so far with a 1.93 goals against average and .931 save percentage.
On Dec. 19, the Falcons traveled to Binghamton to face the Senators in one of the most thrilling games of the season. Forsberg was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots and Senators starter Andrew Hammond was replaced late in the second due to injury, setting up a battle of the backups. Scott Munroe out-dueled Scott Greenham as the Falcons won a 6-5 thriller. And they got a nice contribution from the new guy, Luke Adam.
Down 2-0 late in the first period, Adam sniped the puck past Hammond for his first goal with the Falcons. The momentum was short-lived, though, as two quick second-period goals by the Senators chased Forsberg from the game. The Falcons came roaring back, though, as goals by Josh Anderson, Dana Tyrell and Ryan Craig tied up the game before the end of the second.
Munroe's only mistake came early in the third, conceding a goal to former Buckeye standout Ryan Dzingel. But the Falcons weren't done, as Trent Vogelhuber scored to tie the game. Kerby Rychel scored the game-winner with 8:11 left in the game after a nice pass from Marko Dano. Munroe protected the lead the rest of the way, leading to a 6-5 Falcons victory.
Forsberg redeemed himself the next night, stopping 34 of 35 shots faced in a win over the Hershey Bears and Adam assisted on Austin Madaisky's ninth goal of the season. Former Notre Dame star T.J. Tynan scored the overtime game-winner.
After their holiday break, the Falcons traveled to Hartford for a Northeast Division matchup against the Wolf Pack. For the second night in a row, Tynan was the hero, scoring the lone goal in the shootout.
Oscar Dansk got the start in net the next night against the Albany Devils, and the Falcons' three-game win streak was halted, as they lost 4-3 in overtime. All three goals for the Falcons came via the power play, as Josh Anderson, Frederic St-Denis and Ryan Craig lit the lamp. Joe Whitney scored the OT winner for Albany.
Forsberg was back in between the pipes for the Falcons 24 hours later, picking up an overtime win over the Syracuse Crunch. Adam opened the scoring with a top-shelf snipe, and after two Syracuse goals, he tied it up with his second of the game. He and Madaisky then assisted on Denny Urban's overtime goal, as the Falcons won 3-2.
Unfortunately, 2015 started with a loss as Forsberg was out-dueled by former Falcon Mike McKenna. The Pirates took a 3-0 lead after one, and while the Falcons tried to chip away at the lead, they eventually fell 5-3. Adam and Madaisky added assists on a third-period goal by Tyrell.
The next night had a much better result, but it took a while to get there, as the Falcons won in another shootout against the Worcester Sharks. Dansk stopped 24 of 27 shots faced but his opponent, J.P. Anderson, was spectacular, turning aside 40 of the Falcons' 43 shots. Dano tallied another goal, and Adam scored to tie the game with just 1:29 remaining in the third. Rychel scored in the shootout, leading to a 4-3 Falcons victory.
That set up a battle between the two best teams in the East, as the Falcons faced the Manchester Monarchs. For the sixth time in seven games, the fans were treated to some extra hockey, as the Falcons emerged victorious in overtime. Forsberg stopped 28 of 30 shots faced, and Adam scored once again. Josh Anderson scored the overtime game-winner.
With the win, the Falcons captured sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division, pushing their season line to 24-10-2-0, for a total of 50 points. Their next game will take place on Friday against the Providence Bruins.
Players to watch:
Luke Adam - The Blue Jackets swapped Jerry D'Amigo for Luke Adam, and if his early success in Springfield is any indication, this could be a coup for Columbus. Adam has immediately contributed to the tune of eight points over his first eight games.
Josh Anderson - The big, strong power forward from Burlington, Ont. has come up huge for the Falcons lately. His overtime game-winner against the Senators was his fourth goal in his last nine games, after opening the season with a 24-game goal-less drought.