Falcons End Preseason With Back-to-Back Wins
After a self-proclaimed "chaotic" loss to the Providence Bruins last week to open the preseason, Brad Larsen said his main concern was making sure that everyone was on the same page.
Even though many of his regular players were out of the lineup that night, Larsen didn't like some of the systematic and structural mistakes made by the Falcons. But headed into this past weekend with more practice time under their belts (and a lineup that more closely resembled what we may see on opening night), Springfield had a chance to fine-tune the engines a couple more times.
Their preseason finale weekend consisted of a Friday night contest against the Worcester Sharks at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, followed up by a home-ice tilt with Providence on Saturday.
Both games featured various different storylines, but there was one constant: Jonathan Audy-Marchessault was on fire, scoring five goals on the weekend including a hat trick in Friday night's 4-3 win over the Sharks. He seemed to be around every loose puck, and converted on a few nice set-ups from line mate Ryan Johansen, as well.
Signed in the summer by the Blue Jackets after a strong rookie year in the AHL, Audy-Marchessault is being counted on to provide a heavy dose of offense for the Falcons -- and his debut pair of games should be an indication of what he's capable of.
(For the sake of my fingers, we'll refer to him as "JAM" in this blog space, just so we're clear).
JAM was an elite scorer in his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career, and was considered a pro hockey wild card because of his size -- but he rendered the doubters to silence with 64 points in 76 games last year, leading the Connecticut Whale (AHL) in assists with 40.
"I hope he saved a few for the regular season," Larsen joked after Springfield's 4-1 win on Saturday night. "He and (Johansen) have played very well together, and it's one of those things where goal scorers find a way to score, and hopefully he can keep that rolling."
Random assorted notes from Springfield's final exhibition set:
-- John Moore has been a productive player in the early going for the Falcons, putting together a multi-point outing on Saturday with a goal and a helper. He got the scoring started in the first period, sending a wrister through traffic just four minutes into the game. Moore earned the primary assist on JAM's game-winner early in the second period, as well.
-- Curtis McElhinney made 23 saves to pick up the win on Saturday night in his Falcons debut. Also in the goaltending department: Springfield assigned Mike Clemente to the Missouri Mavericks (CHL) on Sunday and released Daren Machesney over the weekend, adding a bit more clarity to their situation between the pipes.
-- Still interested to see how the final line combinations play out. Cam Atkinson, who didn't play in any of the three preseason games, obviously figures into the top-six mix (most likely on the top line, but I've been wrong before).
-- Anton Blomqvistand Oliver Gabrielwere assigned to Evansville (ECHL) on Saturday, bringing the Falcons closer to their final roster numbers. Larsen said he hopes to have the team in place by mid-week.