Game Night 10/14: Falcons at Wolf Pack
I'm watching the game live again using the B2 Networks feed. Gerard Dicaire is in the lineup tonight with Paul Ranger up with the big club. Tiley, Greco and Deveaux are making their debuts as well. Henrich, Bombardir, McLaren and Rohloff are scratched.
1. Springfield- Campbell, (Vesce, H.Pratt)
2. Springfield- Jaspers, (Milley)
Adam Henrich already in Coach Graham's doghouse? Geez, that was quick. Tiley is back after the groin injury and Deveaux is back from suspension. Good to see Gerard Dicaire make his debut. The first goal came at the tail end of Springfield's opening shift. The O'Brien/Pratt pairing was actually hemmed in pretty well for about 20-20 seconds before two crisp passes by Harlan Pratt and Ryan Vesce sprung Campbell on a breakaway. Campbell shot and beat Holt. Shortly thereafter a pretty harmless looking feed to the top of the slot to Jaspers and his shot beat Holt high stick side.
The biggest test of the period for Eklund was a breakway by Nigel Dawes early which he stopped with his right pad. Other than that there haven't been many dangerous chances for Hartford. Both sides have played a lot of this game in the neutral zone. The Falcons had a huge chance to put the stake in Hartford's heart early with an extended 5-on-3 thanks to Kvapil's speed and then a high stick to Craig, but they failed to capitalize. The power play looked a bit disorganized with some of the lineup changes.
Best move of the night was Nick Tarnasky busting down right wing and nearly pulling off a perfect imitation of Artyukhin's opening night goal before spilling hard into the goal post. Later Artyukhin came off the bench and motored down left wing taking a very hard slap shot that hit the near post. It was a good opening period with the Falcons skating well and looking like their passing was crisper than in the opener.
Your lineup and lines tonight:
The second period was a poor period overall for Springfield. They allowed Hartford to create consistent pressure on the forecheck and began to show cracks in the defense allowing odd man rushes in the second half of the period. Brian Eklund has done well to keep them off the board. In particular, he stopped Hugh Jessiman shooting on a shorthanded 2-on-1 and later stopped Giroux with the left pad on a partial breakaway. The Falcons power play has looked abysmally disorganized tonight. Even when they do get set up in the zone, which has been difficult, you have players like Doug O'Brien impatiently taking shots without anyone within a mile of the front of the net to provide screens or go for rebounds.
Only two decent scoring chances on the period for the Falcons. About a minute and a half in Artyukhin beat both Wolfpack defensemen to a loose puck and broke in on a breakaway but was stopped by Holt with the right pad in tight. Later in the period Deveaux and Fritz, of all people, worked a beautiful give and go that resulted in a Deveaux shot from the slot that was stopped by Holt with his glove. One other note: Brady Greco is getting pummelled in this game. He only weighs about 190 lbs, or at least that's what he's listed at, and he's getting bounced like a basketball nearly every shift. He's a gamer and he's showing some courage, but he's got to bulk up if he's going to survive at the AHL level.
3. Hartford- Lampman, (Sparre)
If Brian Eklund doesn't get 1st star of the game there ought to be an investigation. He stopped 40 out of 41 shots for the win. There was very little positive for Springfield to take away from this game in the final 40 minutes except Eklund's goaltending. The Falcons defense just looked overmatched. You could argue this team lost its three best d-men from opening night in Ranger, Bombardir and Rohloff and it showed. It didn't help that the team couldn't win a faceoff to save its life. Springfield lacked the size and strength to deal with a Hartford forecheck featuring big forwards like Grahame and Jessiman. Only one really good chance came in the third that stands out as Milley fed Campbell on the doorstop but he was turned away by Holt.
3 Stars of the Game:
1. SPD- Eklund
2. HFD- Fedorov
3. HFD- Lampman
So Eklund gets the much deserved recognition.