Falcons' bid to be first to qualify for postseason thwarted

April 4, 2013
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Falcons had their five-game winning streak halted by the Albany Devils, undergoing a 3-1 loss on April 2 at the MassMutual Center for their first defeat in more than two weeks.

The Falcons were bidding to become the first AHL team to clinch a spot in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. Springfield can earn a postseason berth and win the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy as the Northeast Division champion by beating Connecticut in regulation this Friday at the XL Center.

The loss was Springfield's first since Mar. 17.

Albany netminder Keith Kinkaid made a sprawling kick save on a rebound chance by Cody Goloubef just past the halfway point of the first period, keeping the Falcons off the board and leaving the door open for his club to strike first.

The Devils did just that, netting a pair of tallies within 31 seconds of each other.

With Albany working on a power play, Springfield goaltender Allen York made a pad stop on a blast by Jon Merrill from the blue line. Reid Boucher swatted at the carom in the slot and slid the puck past York at 15:50, as the Devils went up, 1-0.

Moments later, Harri Pesonen corralled an up-ice feed from Mattias Tedenby, escaped on a breakaway, and wristed a puck through York's pads, extending Albany's lead to 2-0 at 16:21.

During a scoreless second period, the clubs traded good scoring chances, as Jacob Josefson fanned on an open look in the right circle while Jake Hansen's ensuing bid at the other end of the ice was foiled by Kinkaid.

The Falcons chiseled into the deficit early in the third by converting on a five-on-three power play. Nick Drazenovic centered the puck to Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, whose first chance was stopped by Kinkaid. Audy-Marchessault flicked the follow-up attempt off of Kinkaid's glove, and Ryan Craig deposited the rebound in the crease just 49 seconds into the stanza, making it 2-1. The goal was Craig's 29th on the power play as a Falcon, tying Danny Briere and Jean-Guy Trudel for the most in team history.

The Devils reclaimed the game's momentum upon the expiration of Springfield's power play, as Josefson took a pass from Merrill, broke into the Falcons' zone on a three-on-one rush, and snapped a wrister over York's stick and in at 2:33. The counter strike upped Albany's advantage back to two goals, 3-1.

The Falcons pelted Kinkaid with 14 shots in the third period, but could draw no closer, as Albany came away with the 3-1 victory.

York (9-6-0) allowed three goals on 19 shots. Kinkaid (19-16-5) set aside 35 of the Falcons' 36 tries.

Springfield's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two points. In addition to being able to wrap up a postseason berth with a regulation win on April 5 in Connecticut, the Falcons would also lock in a playoff spot on April 5 if Albany loses in regulation to Providence and Manchester suffers any form of a defeat to Portland.

The Falcons' game in Connecticut begins a four-game road stretch. Springfield then heads to Worcester on April 6 and Portland on April 7. After playing at Adirondack on April 12, the Faclons return home for Fan Appreciation Weekend, hosting Providence on April 13, and Connecticut on April 14. For full details of Fan Appreciation Weekend, visit falconsahl.com.

Players from the Springfield Falcons will also meet fans and sign autographs at Sarat Ford in Agawam on April 9 from 6 to 7 p.m.

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