AHL Game Night 12/15: Crunch at Falcons
Good power play + solid goaltending= wins. Tampa could learn a thing or two from the way the Falcons are manufacturing victories.
Jonathan Boutin, AKA December's Hot Hand, AKA The Boutin Wall, stopped 21 of 22 shots faced for the win. Boutin has won 4 straight stars and has temporarily done the impossible and wrestled Steve Stirling's starting job away from wunderkind Karri Ramo. His 1.24 GAA in 6 appearances this month is, in a word, sick. Andy Delmore led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist, both on the power play. Wingers Justin Keller and Marek Kvapil also had 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Randy Rowe had the Falcons' other goal with individual helpers belonging to Blair Jones, Doug O'Brien and Dan Cavanaugh.
After dropping their first two games last weekend and evoking memories of last season's mid-December collapse, Steve Stirling has managed to halt the slide quickly and now start a 2 game winning streak to get to 15-12-0 good for 30 points. If the season ended today, the Falcons would be tied for 7th place in the Eastern Conference and they're just 3 points behind Portland for the Atlantic Division lead. Tomorrow night's game against Eastern Division power Norfolk will be a real test of just how far the Falcons have come in the past couple of months. The Falcons were embarassed by the Admirals in Norfolk in an ugly back to back set on the team's first road trip of the season and were reeling for weeks after the experience. A solid win against Norfolk tomorrow night could bring this team full circle from its humble beginnings this season, and really set them up to break out after Christmas.
SYR Canzanello, (1) (Motzko), 17:06
SPR Kvapil, (5) (Delmore, Keller), 18:38 (PP)
SPR Delmore, (7) , 8:50 (PP)
SPR Keller, (9) (Jones, Kvapil), 13:17
SPR Rowe, (1) (O'Brien, Cavanaugh), 3:44
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.