McElhinney

The Springfield Falcons made a little bit of AHL historywhen they won their game on Sunday, March 3rd against the Worcester Sharks. Due to a unique set of circumstances, they earned 8 points in less than 48 hours. That is unheard of in the AHL. With the four wins, Springfield is tied for most points in the league with the Syracuse Crunch and the Texas Stars, but have played two fewer games that the other two teams. Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney also registered his eighth shutout of the season in just his thirty-sixth game of the season.

“Nobody told this group that they can’t do something. They kept pushing. They don’t give up,” Head Coach, Brad Larsen, said of the 8 point weekend. “We’ve got a lot of bodies out of the lineup with call-ups and injuries. But everyone is playing hard.”

The Springfield Falcons played a rare partial double header on Friday as they resumed play from a suspended game. On February 17th, the Falcons hosted the Adirondack Phantoms. With just over three minutes left in the second period, Falcons forward Wade MacLeod suffered a seizure while skating back to the bench after being hit into the boards. Brandon Manning of the Phantoms got two minutes for boarding but MacLeod got up at first before collapsing. Both teams unanimously agreed to suspend the game there and resume at a later date. The two teams picked that game up at 6pm on Friday, March 1st before their 7:30pm regularly scheduled game. The Falcons came from behind to win the suspended game and went on to sweep the weekend.

By the time Sunday afternoon came around, it was clear at the start of the first period that the Falcons were a little bit tired. The Sharks was finishing up a three in three themselves, but all contests had been on the road. The Sharks had a five-on-three power play chance midway through the first period, but could not get anything set up. Then, towards the end of the first, the Falcons got one by Sharks goaltender, Harri Sateri. Sean Collins passed the puck from behind the net to Jonathan Audy-Marchessault who immediately took a shot. The puck bounced back to Ryan Russell who buried it easily. The Falcons took advantage of Sateri losing sight of where the puck was for just a second.

A couple minutes into the second period, the Falcons struck again. Rookie forward Michael Chaput took a shot that deflected right onto the stick of Tomas Kubalik. Kubalik easily tipped it in to put the Falcons up 2-0. That would be the final score of the game, despite the Sharks pulling their goalie with about two minutes left to go in the game. The Falcons were not able to score on the empty net.

This was the fifth of eight meetings between the Sharks and Falcons and with the win, the Falcons improved to 2-2-1-0 against the Sharks so far this season. The last meeting, the Falcons had lost to the Sharks 5-1. Losing by that score was very uncharacteristic for the Falcons and so they were definitely looking for a win this time around. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, the leading goal scorer for the Falcons, has been held without a goal through five contests against the Sharks while Tomas Kubalik registered his third goal against the Sharks on Sunday, all against the same goaltender.

“I like to play with those guys, we work well together,” Kubalik said of linemates Michael Chaput and Ryan Craig. “I also like to play against Worcester. All the times we play against them, I’ve been pretty successful.”

A New England girl, born and raised, Jessica Higham has grown up loving few things more than hockey. Although she has never considered herself to be a good skater, she fell in love with hockey back when boys still had cooties and that love has only grown since. She genuinely wishes she had been alive to enjoy ‘Miracle on Ice’ and considers it to be one of the greatest moments in US history. Nothing compares to the feeling of September coming and signaling the start of a new season, complete with a whole new set of ups and downs. After having been an avid reader and occasional writer, Jessica wanted to try putting the two loves together and writing about hockey. Aside from hockey, Jessica also loves music, going to concerts, animals, and walking on the beach. Email: jessica@thepinkpuck.com @JessicaHigham

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