I will be live blogging this during the game using the B2 Networks feed. Harlan Pratt, Marek Kvapil , Dennis Packard  and Steve McLaren are the scratches for tonight's game. Gerald Coleman  will be starting his third straight game.
Holy cow does the young woman doing the national anthem tonight have a great voice. I've sat through some bad ones in these minor league games, she was outstanding.
1. Albany- DeMarchi, (Tallackson, Allen) (PP2)
2. Albany- Allen, (Tallackson)
Very sluggish start for the Falcons. Judging by their body language, they appear to be a fatigued game which is understandable given it's their third game in three nights. Marek Kvapil was made a late scratch in favor of Mitch Fritz .
Falcons got into the box early because they weren't moving their feet and handed the Rats a two man advantage. Coleman was beaten cleanly by a one time slapshot from the top of the right circle by DeMarchi. Albany's second goal came off a fluke deflection that found its way into the net. Coleman's rebound control hasn't been terribly stellar early, but neither of the goals he's allowed have been particularly soft and he did make an outstanding save on a wide open Alex Suglobov from the mid slot with the glove (and no rebound in that instance).
The Falcons two best chances came from a Falcons power play which failed on four opportunities to draw the game closer. Doyle made an outstanding save on Darren Reid  in close by diving to his right. I still don't believe Darren didn't pot that slam dunk chance. And the best opportunity on the night came on a puck that squirted down low to Norm Milley who rolled from the right of Doyle across the top of the crease to his left and was robbed by a sprawling arm save. Albany's goalie is definitely sharp tonight.
The best even strength shifts for the Falcons came from the checking liners. The Reid/Tarnasky/Hrdel line had an outstanding shift working the puck down low early in the first while a little past the mid way mark after a penalty kill Andre Deveaux did his best Chris Dingman circa 2003-2004 impersonation holding a puck down low with his impromptu linemates Tarnasky and Spina.
Falcons' lines tonight:
The next goal will be critical, in my opinion. Given this team's level of fatigue, if they fall behind 3-0 there's a healthy chance they'll mail in the rest of the night. So it's crucial they get the next goal to stay in this one emotionally.
3. Albany- Suglobov, (Redlihs, Miller) (PP)
4. Albany- Vrana, (Clarkson, Voros)
5. Springfield- Milley, (Vesce, O'Brien)
6. Springfield- Deveaux, (Rohloff, Craig)
7. Albany- Tallackson, (Ryznar, Bergfors) (PP)
Ouch. Where to begin?
Gerald Coleman HAS to make that save on the third goal if he wants to be a legitimate NHLer someday. HAS to. Albany was on the power play early in the period and just moved the puck around the perimeter to Suglobov in the right circle where he beat Coleman short side on an unscreened wrist shot. And on the fourth goal Vrana poked in a loose puck in tight while Coleman stood like a statue completely unaware where the puck was in tight. In fairness though on the fourth goal, where were Tiley and O'Brien? The Falcons have been abysmal at protecting the front of their net tonight with the exception of Jay Rosehill  who has played with extreme malice throughout the contest.
I give credit to the Falcons for having the character to try and mount a comeback though. Doyle started allowing some rebounds in the first half of the period and Norm Milley capitalized on one driving hard to the net after a Ryan Vesce left wing shot. And then Andre Deveaux made a beautiful play beating Bryan Miller like a dog around the corner on the left wing with speed to break in alone on Doyle and pot the goal. But a late penalty on Helbling gave a power play goal to Albany to reestablish a three goal lead, and then its garbage time with Mitch Fritz kicking off the festivities with a brawl with Mike Sgroi, who looked like a dwarf next to Fritzy. The sad thing is that it could be worse. Albany hit a post on Coleman in the 1st period and Suglobov hit another on Gerald in the third.
The two bright spots of the game thus far for me have been Andre Deveaux and Darren Reid. These gentlemen are working very hard on the forecheck and Reid has had two or three pretty good scoring chances. Perhaps he's due to get one in the 3rd.
Third period, garbage time, Coach Graham needs to give the lion's share of the ice time to guys like Rosehill, Reid and Deveaux who are fresher and have played well tonight.
8. Albany- Bergfors, (Allen, DeMarchi) (PP)
Well, that's 2-1/2 hours of my life I'll never get back.
Springfield missed a couple of chances to make this interesting early in the third. On a power play to begin the period the Falcons worked the puck quickly side to side for a one-time slapshot from the point by Ryan Vesce that rung the post. Later Andre Deveaux, who was the best Falcon on the night, made a power move to try a wraparound that was nearly banked in by Nick Tarnasky . But, alas, it was not to be. Late in the period, Albany took the balance of play with some power plays and the Falcons running out of gas. Alex Suglobov nearly scored on a 2-on-1 on a power play that Gerald Coleman got just the tiniest piece of and Todd Rohloff swept off the goal line just a split second before it crossed. Later in the period, Coleman allowed his 6th on the night as a centering feed on the power play by Albany deflected off of Anders Eriksson's stick and in. Coleman allowed 6 on 28 shots on the night.
I hope, for Dirk Graham's sake, that Eklund and Kvapil were down with the flu or some other ailment because it seems to me he is definitely open for some second guessing in this game. The decision to start Coleman three night's in a row was particularly questionable in my view. If indeed Graham has lost faith in Brian Eklund  to the extent that he won't even play the young man, the decision needs to be made to recall Boutin or Cey once Johnstown returns from the west coast. Playing a goaltender over 180 minutes in the span of less than 72 hours is a dreadful thing to do to a young player like Coleman.
I also really do not like how soft the Falcons' defense played tonight, particularly on the 4th goal by Vrana. With the exception of Jay Rosehill, the Falcons were largely guilty tonight of playing passively in protecting their crease which is a sin the parent club has also been guilty of throughout this season. Recalling a player like Mike Egener  might be an appropriate remedy in Springfield's case.