FALCONS: Erixon's four-point night validates his solid play of late
The 21-year-old defenseman became the second AHL defenseman in the last three years with a +6 rating in one game
Nothing seemed to go right for the Connecticut Whale on Sunday night, but everything was clicking for Tim Erixon.
The Falcons had five players register multi-point games, including Erixon, who scored the first goal of the game and got everything started.
Such a quick start was part relief and part progress for the 21-year-old defenseman, who has been playing heavy minutes for Springfield (including a lot of power-play time) but hasn’t put up the points.
Having a hand in your team’s first three goals of the contest is usually a good place to start, too – and even sweeter against your former team.
“Of course, it’s always a little more special to score against your old team,” Erixon told BlueJackets.com. “It was different coming out for warm-ups and a little weird seeing some of the guys I used to play with on the other side of the ice.
“But once the game got going, I really didn’t think about that. I always liked playing at the XL Center, so it was nice to be back there and get a win, too.”
The Falcons’ 10 goals were the most scored by a Springfield club since they hung 14 on the Providence Bruins in 1999, and Erixon was on the ice for six of them.
He was the first American Hockey League defenseman since Mathieu Roy in 2010 to finish with a +6 rating in a single game.
“The whole team was playing well and just doing the right things out there,” Erixon said. “That’s the main thing for us. For me, it was nice to get some good bounces and get some points. I think I’ve been playing well, and finally, got some to go my way. But the most important thing is that our team got the win.
“I kind of knew it was +6 later in the game, but it was just one of those nights. I got a little bit lucky, I guess.”
One area in which the Falcons didn't have to rely on good fortune was their discipline. After some recent penalty trouble which resulted in a couple of coach’s decisions, Springfield only gave the Whale four power plays, but due to the score of the game, they were of little significance.
“We’ve been talking about that and it was one of the main things we focused on,” Erixon said. “Our depth is so important for us; (Sunday) was the first time anyone scored two goals in a game this year on our team.
“I think that really shows how many good players we have on this team.”
Springfield didn’t waste much time getting on the scoreboard against Connecticut. The Falcons scored on one of their first opportunities of the game when Erixon pinched down below the hashmarks and created an outnumbered situation around Whale goaltender Cam Talbot.
Erixon was set up for a one-timer, but Jonathan Audy-Marchessault elected to direct the puck toward the goal, and the rebound popped out to the side of the net. Erixon pounced on the loose puck, chipped it by Talbot and lit the lamp for the first of 10 times on the evening.
“I was trying to get open for a one-timer, but they closed the lane off,” Erixon said. “(Audy-Marchessault) threw the puck at the net and it bounced out to me. I got a stick on it and it was like a little soccer volley. I probably got a little lucky, but I’ll take it. It kind of got us going.
“It was one those weird games, too, where it seemed like we couldn’t miss.”
Erixon laughed, then paused for reflection when asked if he’d ever played for a team that scored nine even strength goals in a single game.
“We have to go way back, I think,” he said. “Probably back in juniors…but maybe farther than that.”