BOX SCORE - FALCONS 5, SOUND TIGERS 2
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Feb. 22, 2013) – Springfield built a 3-0 lead before a penalty-filled third period became the story at the MassMutual Center as the Falcons came away with a 5-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night. With the win, Springfield improves to 30-12-4-3 overall. The Sound Tigers fall to 22-22-3-3.
The first period saw chances for both teams with the Falcons earning an 11-8 edge in the shots total, but Springfield netted the only goal of the opening frame to take the lead. Goaltender Kevin Poulin struggled to see through traffic in front of his crease, and Springfield defenseman Cody Goloubef sent a slap shot past Poulin for his fifth goal of the season with 5:05 remaining in the period.
Cody Bass gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead a 11:29 of the second period when he deflected Nick Drazenovic’s centering feed through Poulin for his first goal of the season. Ryan Russell’s wrist shot from the right half-wall fluttered through a screen past Poulin with 1:43 left in the middle frame to give the Falcons 3-0 lead following a period in which the Sound Tigers were outshot 11-2.
A seemingly normal third period turned ugly 4:27 into the final period with the first of three line brawls. Springfield’s fourth-line left wing Dalton Smith instigated what became a line brawl involving the Sound Tigers top line of Nino Niederreiter, Brock Nelson and Mike Halmo and resulted in 76 penalty minutes between the two teams.
The Sound Tigers earned a power play following the initial line brawl, but Springfield scored on the Sound Tigers ensuing advantage. Andrew Joudrey was taken down shorthanded, then fired over Poulin’s blocker on a penalty shot at 6:19 to put the Falcons up 4-0.
A second line brawl ensued at 7:51 after Springfield forward Dalton Prout's dangerous boarding penalty on Brandon DeFazio behind the Falcons’ net, and a third skirmish broke out during a Springfield power play at 9:29 of the final period deep in the Sound Tigers’ zone involving Bridgeport’s Blair Riley and Nathan McIver as well as Springfield’s Ryan Craig and David Savard.
Ryan Johansen scored on a 3-on-1 at 17:32 to give the Falcons a 5-0 lead, but Kirill Kabanov ended Curtis McElhinney’s shutout bid 18 seconds later with his first pro goal. Kabanov picked off a pass at the Springfield blue line, skated in all alone and fired over McElhinney’s glove for his first AHL goal at 17:50 of the final period. Jon Landry rounded out the scoring, sending a shot from the slot past McElhinney with 7.9 seconds left in the game.
Poulin made 26 saves in the loss, while McElhinney stopped 20 shots for Springfield.
The Sound Tigers return to action tomorrow night when they host the Manchester Monarchs at Webster Bank Arena ay 7:00 p.m. for the AHL’s first ever You Can Play Night in support of the You Can Play Program, which promotes equality in sports. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a special panel discussion led by You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke at 5:30 in the Webster Bank Arena concourse atrium.
NOTES: The two teams combined for 242 penalty minutes … Nathan McIver and Scott Campbell each had 27 penalty minutes … A total of 48 infractions were handed out by referee Graham Skilliter … The teams combined to go 0-for-13 on the power play ... Head Coach Scott Pellerin announced earlier Friday that Matt Watkins will serve as team captain for the remainder of the 2012-13 season … Watkins is the ninth captain in team history; Wishart and Riley will wear the road “A’s”, while Landry and McIver will serve as assistants at home … Poulin started his eight straight game for the Sound Tigers, and his 13th start in 14 games.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
40 Mike Halmo – 29 Brock Nelson – 22 Nino Niederreiter
23 John Persson – 14 Matt Watkins (C) – 77 Kirill Kabanov
42 Brandon DeFazio – 4 Scott Campbell – 20 Blair Riley (A)
44 Brett Gallant – 5 Jack Combs – 16 Sean Backman
8 Nathan McIver – 25 Jordan Hill
46 Matt Donovan – 6 Ty Wishart (A)
27 Aaron Ness – 7 Jon Landry
38 Kevin Poulin (starter)
30 Kenny Reiter