Karri Ramo's superb play may be overshadowing him, but that hasn't stopped Jonathan Boutin from showing a remarkable amount of progress this season.
Boutin stopped 36 of 37 shots faced tonight to extend Springfield's winning streak to four games. The win moves Boutin to a positively brilliant 5-0-1 for the month of December with a minisculle 1.59 GAA and a gaudy .949 save percentage in 8 appearances. Ramo gets a lot of much deserved publicity and praise, but Boutin has actually matched or bested him in almost every statistical category but wins this year. Boutin's save percentage has improved 35 points from where he finished last season and he's climbing the learning curve at such a steep rate at some point we need to start talking about Boutin possibly earning some time in the NHL within the next year. Three years ago, goaltending was the biggest weakness of the organization prospect wise. Now it's almost a embarassment of riches.
Norm Milley led the Falcons offensively with a pair of assists as the team got goals from Doug O'Brien, Daniel Corso and Andy Delmore. Blair Jones, Marek Kvapil, Matt Smaby and Eric Healey added individual assists. Snakebitten David Spina failed on a penalty shot attempt early in the first period in the game. Boutin, Milley and Smaby were named the game's three stars.
The Falcons now move to 5 games over .500 at 19-14-1 for 39 points. Their win coupled with a Portland shootout loss to Worcester moves the Falcons into a tie for 2nd place in the Atlantic Division 4 points behind Manchester with a game in hand. It's the stuff that dreams are made of, it really is.
SPR O'Brien, (1) (Jones, Kvapil), 6:05
BRI Regier, (9) (Nielsen, Boguniecki), 8:38 (PP)
SPR Corso, (5) (Milley, Smaby), 18:49
SPR Delmore, (9) (Milley, Healey), 4:50 (PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.