Friday Night, the Springfield Falcons hosted the Worcester Sharks for the last time of the season out in Springfield. Despite the Falcons having a much better record, they knew that it would not be an easy game. The Sharks were fighting for points and a playoff spot. But, there would be no points for the Sharks as goaltender Curtis McElhinney and his Falcons.
Just thirteen seconds into the first period, the Falcons struck first. The refs questionably waived off an icing call and the Sharks let up as they did not seem to realize. Recent Springfield addition Spencer Machacek got the puck from behind the net and fed it to Sean Collins, who was right in front of the goalie. He easily beat Sharks goaltender, Harri Sateri, to put the Falcons up 1-0. It was the 8th goal of the season for the rookie who left for Columbus immediately following the game.
In the second frame, the Falcons took a 2-0 lead as defenseman Nick Holden got in close to the net and capitalized on a pass from Ryan Craig for his fifth goal of the season. Sean Collins also had an assist on the goal. Sateri just did not seem to be able to get a good sight line on the puck. It was the only power play strike of the game as Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse served a cross-checking penalty.
“We just kind of had a good break in on the power play,” Holden said of his goal. “It was right up to Craig and he got it over to me and I got a lucky shot off. There was a good screen.”
The second period also featured a fight between Falcons rookie Dalton Smith and Matt Pelech of the Sharks. It was the second fight between the two this season. Smith said Pelech had asked him to fight immediately following the Collins goal but Smith did not feel the timing was right. Later, during the second, Pelech hit Vogelhuber and that was enough to convince Smith to fight. Smith landed a lot of good punches without many returned from Pelech and the officials eventually stepped in to break it up. Nathan Moon from the falcons and Nick Petrecki from the Sharks also got roughing minors. The fight was the twelfth of the season for Smith, who has been fighting more as the season has continued.
“It’s taken me a little while to adapt. But you have to have little advantages over guys to get into the lineup,” Smith said of his role as a fighter. “This is something that I have that will keep me in the lineup.
Although the Sharks cut the lead to 2-1 halfway through the third period, that was as close as it would get. Adam Comrie got one by Curtis McElhinney with assists coming from Yanni Gourde and James Livingston. McElhinney made a lot of impressive saves throughout the game and really kept his team on top. The Sharks pulled Sateri for the extra attacker towards the end of the game, but it did not end up helping. The Falcons nearly scored a first time on the empty net, but the Sharks kept it out of the net and earned a hooking penalty in the process. While the Sharks were able to pull Sateri again, it was the Falcons that nearly scored. Once again, they missed the empty net and the game would end 2-1.
The Falcons now have a two game winning streak under their belts. They had not won back-to-back games since the first weekend of the month. That weekend they came away with a rare 8 points after having to complete a suspended game before playing their three regularly scheduled games. Curtis McElhinney was definitely a big part of the win as the Sharks outshot the Falcons in their loss.