Springfield aims for back-to-back wins in St. John's
Brad Larsen is a master of the day-to-day as a head coach, and while it's difficult to ignore the Falcons' place atop the conference standings, he will want his team's sole focus on tonight's game at Mile One Centre.
Springfield was caught flat-footed to begin last night's game, and the IceCaps scored just over two minutes into the contest and got the building going early. But a gritty power play goal by captain Ryan Craig seemed to calm things down in the second period, and once the Falcons got the lead goal, they did what they do best and made it stand.
There was some adversity along the way, and the crowd got back into the game in the third period when St. John's got goals from Kevin Clark and Ray Sawada, the latter tying the game at 3-3.
Cam Atkinson's quick counter was the game-winner with 4:06 to play and it set the stage for another important game tonight (for both sides). Springfield kept pace with first-place Syracuse last night and a loss by the IceCaps kept them tied for second in the Atlantic Division.
Curtis McElhinney was darn good last night, too, and there were several sequences where it looked as if the IceCaps were due for a goal, but the veteran goaltender was solid.
St. John's brought the house in the third period, and after they tied the game, they were repeatedly frustrated by McElhinney.
Let's go through some notable items in advance of tonight's game:
-- With a 5-3 win last night, the Falcons have scored five goals in five consecutive road games. They have the AHL's top road record (7-1-1), and when you can score at-will as they have, it's easy to see why they've had so much success.
-- Somehow, Atkinson had a four-point night last night and wasn't awarded one of the game's three stars. I'm sure he will be just fine with the win, but hard to fathom a guy with the game-winner and three other points couldn't crack the list.
-- A two-point outing for Jonathan Audy-Marchessault last night put him third in the AHL scoring race. His 17 assists are tops among all Falcons, and second-most in the entire league.
-- Springfield notched a power play goal last night, marking the 17th time in 21 games they have done so this season. The Falcons power play now sits at 21.8 percent, which is the fifth-best efficiency in the league.
-- How about the Falcons' league-leading goal differential? They're at +30 after a two-goal margin on Friday.