Ladies and gentlemen, the Falcons just posted their first 3-0-0 weekend of the season, and they did so without their #1 goaltender. Impressive.
Gerald Coleman, who was recalled to start this game, masterfully weathered a 40 minute barrage that saw the Falcons outshot 29-15 through two periods to deliver the Falcons into the third period with a 1-0 lead. The Devils would tie the game up with 6:55 left in the game, but Coleman would allow no more stopping 37 of 38 shots faced in the game. Dan Cavanaugh paced the Falcons with 2 assists but it was David Spina's goal scored just a little over 2 minutes after the Devils tied the game in the third period that delivered the win on assists from Blair Jones and Stanislav Lascek. Jones' point snapped what had been a 10 game scoreless streak at the AHL. Rookie Justin Keller and veteran Norm Milley (empty netter) supplied the other Falcons goals. Marek Kvapil also had an assist in the game. Spina and Coleman were named the first and second stars of the game.
The win temporarily moves Springdfield to 13-10-0 this season tied with Providence for second in the Atlantic Division at 26 points. Regardless of the outcome of Providence's game with Albany (in progress) the Falcons have now moved a tantalizingly close 4 points behind idle Portland for the division lead. If the playoffs started right this moment, the Falcons would be the #6 seed in the East. How fun is this?
The Lightning organization has to be incredibly proud of how their young goaltenders performed this weekend in the absence of ace netminder Karri Ramo who was recalled to Tampa. Jonathan Boutin seized the opportunity presented to him by Ramo's absence by posting a pair of wins on Friday and Saturday night to get the ball rolling. And then Gerald Coleman rose to the occassion and played one of the best games by any Falcons goaltender this season fully taking advantage of the one game window he had to make a true statement about his place in the organization. As impressive as Boutin was, Coleman may have been even more clutch taking what he knew was one shot and making it count big time. Can you believe anyone ever doubted the depth in net the Lightning organization was developing? Can you believe with Riku Helenius and Vasily Koshechkin still in Europe that this may just be the tip of the iceberg?
SPR Keller, (7) (Cavanaugh, Kvapil), 11:28
LOW Tallackson, (4) (Minard, Papineau), 13:05
SPR Spina, (2) (Jones, Lascek), 15:18
SPR Milley, (10) (Cavanaugh, Corso), 19:59 (EN/PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.