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The Springfield Report: Vol. 8

by Kyle Morrison / Columbus Blue Jackets

Well, the Falcons didn't exactly soar into the AHL All-Star break, losing their final three games of the first half. But there's an abundance of second-half storylines for the Falcons - the emergence of Kerby Rychel, Oscar Dansk's development and, of course, the battle for the East's top seed.  

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

First, the Falcons fell to the Binghamton Senators on Jan. 18 by a score of 6-3. Anton Forsberg was pulled early in the third after surrendering his fourth goal of the game, but Oscar Dansk was perfect in relief, stopping all nine shots and keeping Springfield in the game. Goals by Austin Madaisky, Frederic St-Denis and Lukas Sedlak made it a 4-3 game, but two empty-netters for the Senators sealed it.

After a four-day break, the Falcons were back in action, visiting the Hartford Wolf Pack. For the second game in a row, Forsberg allowed four goals, stopping 24 of 28 shots. But the story of the game for Springfield was Kerby Rychel, notching two goals and an assist. His season line now sits at 12-14-26 over 38 games, which is all the more impressive after a slow start to the season.

Michael Chaput scored the other goal for the Falcons, but three goals in the game's final frame put the Wolf Pack on top for good, and they topped the Falcons 4-3 in regulation.

In their final game before the break, the Falcons took on the Providence Bruins. Forsberg was back to his usual self, stopping 29 of 31 shots, but he was out-dueled by Malcolm Subban, who stopped 30 of 31 for Providence. Chaput scored the lone goal for Springfield.

Going into the AHL All-Star Game, the Falcons had two key players called up by Columbus - Forsberg and winger Josh Anderson, less than a week after he was sent back down. Forsberg's absence going forward opens up an opportunity for Dansk, the 31st overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

The Falcons are looking to bounce back on Friday in Wilkes-Barre when they take on the Penguins.

Players to watch:
Kerby Rychel: He had a slow start to his season, but Rychel has come on of late. He's now tied with Madaisky for the team lead in goals, and he had a solid stint in Columbus earlier this season. The 2013 first-rounder could be Springfield's top offensive threat in the second half.

Oscar Dansk: It's been a wild ride for Dansk this season, which included a stint with the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings. The young Swede has a huge opportunity with Forsberg up in Columbus for the foreseeable future. If he can find his form and do his part to keep the Falcons flying high, Springfield could be in for a Dansk Party. 

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