Springfield, MA - Kris Newbury scored on the first shift of the game for the Connecticut Whale Friday night at the MassMutual Center, and again with 34 seconds left in the third, but the Springfield Falcons scored four goals in between for a 4-2 victory.
“I thought we had a good start, scoring on the first shift obviously helps, but we had a little letdown and they were able to capitalize,” Newbury said. “They’ve got skilled forwards that can put the puck in the net. So we’ve just got to tighten it up.”
Nick Drazenovic and former Whale Tim Erixon had a goal and an assist each for the Falcons, and Allen York made 24 saves. Mike Vernace assisted on both of Newbury’s goals for the Whale.
Newbury scored on a partial breakaway at the 49-second mark, on the game’s first shot.
Vernace sent a perfect lead pass through center ice to Newbury, who got a step on the Springfield defense and fired a shot past York high to the stick side.
Erixon got that goal back less than four minutes later, though, at 4:07. Whale defender Logan Pyett tripped and fell, allowing Erixon to get to the net down the left side, and Erixon’s shot went off Connecticut netminder Cam Talbot (24 saves) and over the goal line.
The goal was Erixon’s fifth of the year, and four of them have come against the Whale.
Drazenovic then gave the Falcons their first lead at 9:57. Breaking into the Whale zone on a two-on-one, the left-handed-shooting Drazenovic snapped a shot from the right-wing circle and got it past the catching glove of Talbot.
Springfield then got two more in the second period, the first coming at 8:34 off the stick of Ryan Craig. A snapshot by Erixon from the left point hit Craig and dropped down into the slot, and Craig was able to fight off Vernace and slip the puck past Talbot.
A Tomas Kubalik power-play goal at 18:35 made it 4-1, as Kubalik deflected in a shot by Nick Holden from the middle of the blue line. That came with only five seconds remaining in a roughing penalty to Jason Wilson, who was playing his first career AHL game for the Whale.
The Whale outshot Springfield 11-8 in the third period, but were not able to cut the Falcons’ lead until the 19:26 mark, when Newbury tipped Vernace’s left-point shot through York to make it 4-2.
Connecticut then pulled Talbot for an extra attacker after winning the center-ice faceoff, but could not get any closer.
The Whale continue a stretch of six straight road games Saturday night, when they head to Portland for a 7:00 PM matchup with the Pirates. All of the action of that game can be heard live on “The Rock” 106.9 WCCC and on-line at www.ctwhale.com. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Whale’s next home game is Wednesday, January 23, a 7:00 game against the Adirondack Phantoms. For that and all Whale home games, tickets start as low as $10 each ($12 each when tickets are purchased on the day of the game), at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, through TicketMaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.
Connecticut Whale 2 at Springfield Falcons 4
Friday, January 18, 2013 - MassMutual Center