On Saturday night, the Springfield Falcons faced off at home for the final time of four meetings against the St. John’s IceCaps. The Falcons won the first three games all in regulation, but would not be as lucky this time. Ryan Johansen managed to tie the game with just 27 seconds to go, but it was not enough, as the IceCaps managed to win it in overtime to end their losing streak at 5 games. Two of those losses came at the hands of the Falcons.
“They were a desperate team, having lost five straight, and they played like a desperate team,” Falcons coach, Brad Larsen, said of the loss.
The Falcons and IceCaps exchanged early penalties but each held strong, killing off the penalty without allowing a goal. Rookie forward Sean Collins for the Falcons would get onto the scoreboard first. Collins’ linemate, Michael Chaput, took a shot from out by the blue line that bounced around off the traffic in front of the net before Collins managed to get his stick on it. Dalton Prout had the secondary assist on the goal.
“It was a weird goal,” Collins admitted, “Chaput took the shot and I was just lucky enough to be in front of the net to get my stick on it.”
A couple minutes later, tempers reached a boiling point as a fight broke out between Dalton Prout of Springfield and Ryan Schnell of St. John’s. Schnell, playing in his first AHL game of the season, was clearly trying to make an impression and wasted no time in throwing the punches. However Prout made his mark too, knocking Schnell’s helmet off with a punch and not letting up from there. The officials eventually stepped in and breaking up the fight that was not a clear win for either player.
The IceCaps would get their chance to tie up the game before the end of the first period, though. Ryan Russell of Springfield went off for tripping and St. John’s went on the power play. For the first half of the power play, St. John’s just could not manage to get set up to score. But when they did manage to get the puck into the Falcons zone, the IceCaps wasted no time. Falcons goaltender Allen York went down to make a save and Spencer Machacek of the IceCaps found himself with the puck that he immediately put into the net over York’s right shoulder.
The second period did not feature any goals or fights, but it was a good show by the goaltending and penalty kill units. Eddie Pasquale made 8 saves as he kept his team tied through the second period. The Falcons had three separate penalty kill situations and held strong on each of them, keeping St. John’s from really setting up to get a good chance at scoring.
The teams entered the third period tied but it would not stay that way. Cody MacLeod went off for tripping and less than a minute later, at the 5:09 mark, Raymond Sawada scored with Meech and Machacek getting the assists. With that goal, the IceCaps scored their second powerplay goal, going 2 for 6 on the night. The Falcons were scoreless on three powerplays.
The Falcons pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker at the end of the third and looked like they were going to fall victim to an empty net goal. The IceCaps rushed all the way down only to miss their chance on the open net as one of the Falcons made a save off his skate. The Falcons rushed back down to the other end of the ice and created traffic in front of Pasquale. With all of the bodies, Pasquale could not see the puck, allowing Ryan Johansen to tie it up from Savard and Atkinson with just 27 seconds to go.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Falcons would get to winning the game. Less than a minute into overtime, Ivan Telegin found the back of the net from Chiarot and won the game for the IceCaps. St. John’s had lost their last five games in regulation and celebrated finally getting the two points. The IceCaps also went on to shut the Providence Bruins out Sunday afternoon, winning 4-0. The Falcons, who lost 6-3 to Providence on Friday, managed to come out on top of the Manchester Monarchs in a 3-2 shootout win on Sunday afternoon.