A Bird's Eye View: Analyzing the Springfield Falcons

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Springfield Falcons 3 Stars of the Weekend: Jay Pandolfo leads Falcons to three points

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Jay Pandolfo picked up his first AHL goal since the 1997-1998 season on Friday for the Springfield Falcons. Photo Courtesy/MassLive.com

Jay Pandolfo scored his first goal of the season Friday night in the Springfield Falcons 5-3 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and added another goal on Sunday in Springfield’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Norfolk Admirals. The Falcons were able to notch three out of a possible six points this weekend, despite being embarrassed 7-2 on the road in Manchester Saturday night.

Pandolfo, the former New Jersey Devil, earns the top star in this segment of A Bird’s Eye View Anaylyzing the Springfield Falcons 3 Stars of the Weekend.

Jay Pandolfo: The two-time Stanley Cup Champion notched his first American Hockey League goal since the 1997-1998 season when he found the back of net behind Bridgeport goaltender Mikko Koskinen on the power play in the third period. Pandolfo also had an assist on Grant Clitsome’s second period goal Friday night that cut the Springfield deficit to 2-1 following two 5-on-3 Bridgeport power play goals. On Sunday, Pandolfo was the regulation hero by jamming the puck past Norfolk goalie Dustin Tokarski with 19.5 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Grant Clitsome: In just his first game of December, Clitsome registered more points (two) then he did in all of November (one) with a goal and an assist against Bridgeport Friday. He continued the offensive surge by scoring Saturday on the road in Manchester for back-to-back games with a goal for the first this season. Clitsome also assisted on Pandolfo’s goal Sunday.

Cody Goloubef: The rookie defenseman recorded his second two-assist game of his career Sunday. Goloubef recorded assists on Pandolfo’s game-tying goal and on Mike Blunden’s first period power play goal. He also had an assist on Clitsome’s power play goal Saturday. Goloubef last had two assists on Nov. 5 against Syracuse.


Written by jfelisko

December 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Tale of the Tape: Springfield’s Tom Sestito vs. Bridgeport’s Michael Haley

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Let’s take a quick look at the Springfield Falcons and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers leading enforcers that may drop the gloves Friday at the MassMutual Center in this week’s segment of the Tale of the Tape. Springfield and Bridgeport take to the ice with identical 21 fights in their respective corners.

Springfield Falcons (21 fights)

Top Bruiser: Tom Sestito (five)

Height: 6’4

Weight: 190

Last Fight: Sestito has missed the last 10 games because of a nagging injury but appears set to return to the Falcons Friday according to Garry Brown of the Springfield Republican. He last fought on Nov. 10 against Corey Tropp of the Portland Pirates. In the fight below, Sestito took on Bridgeport’s Travis Hamonic, who is currently on recall with the New York Islanders.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (21 fights)

Top Bruiser: Michael Haley (six)

Height: 5’11

Weight: 198

Last Fight: Grappled to a draw with Hartford’s Devin DiDiomete on Nov. 26 in the first period. It will be interesting to see if Springfield will attempt to try to bully the Tigers around the ice similar to what Hartford did in two games last weekend. If so, Haley may have to step in for Bridgeport. Fight Grade: D

Written by jfelisko

December 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. Springfield Falcons (Preview)

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Falcons (11-11-0-1) vs. Sound Tigers (10-11-1-1)

Broadcast: WHYN AM 560, AHL Live

Last Ten: Springfield 4-6-0-0; Bridgeport 5-3-1-1

Season Series: This will be the third meeting between the Atlantic Division foes. Springfield has a 1-0-0-1 advantage after defeating Bridgeport 4-3 in the last meeting on Nov. 16 at the MassMutual Center. It was the line of Tomas Kubalik, Ben Guite and Matt Calvert leading the way combining for all four goals. Kubalik found the back of the net twice. The Falcons fell to the Tigers 6-5 in a shootout in a morning matinee on Nov. 3.

Home Woes meets Road Struggles: Friday’s match up against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers may be just what the Falcons need to shed their season-long struggles at the MassMutual Center. Springfield enters the game with a 4-8 record at the Nest after Sunday’s collapse against Wilkes Barre-Scranton as the Falcons fell to the Pens 4-2 and have lost four in a row at home. The Sound Tigers have the second worst road record in the Eastern Conference at 2-8-0-1 but are riding a season-high five-game points streak (3-0-1-1). In the tightly packed Atlantic Division where only two points seperates fourth from seventh place each of these teams will be looking to end their respective struggles.      



Matt Calvert has three goals for the Falcons against Bridgeport this season. Photo courtesy of MassLive.com



GP 23
11 W 10
11 L 11
0 OTL 1
1 SL 1
23 P 23
0.500 P% 0.478
3.04 G/G 2.61
3.22 GA/G 3.09
16.3 PP% 15.6
87 PK% 83.6
25.30 S/G 28.65
29.48 SA/G 32.39

Leading Scorers:

Springfield: Matt Calvert (9-8-17), Dane Byers (5-11-16), Tomas Kubalik (9-6-15)

Bridgeport: Rhett Rhakhshani (7-9-16), David Ullstrom (5-10-15), Robin Figren (7-2-9)

The Best In Between the Pipes:

Springfield: David LeNeveu (7-6-1, 2.88 GAA, .895%)

Bridgeport: Kevin Poulin (6-3-0, 1.98 GAA, .939%)

Who’s Hot: Rookie forward Tomas Kubalik has racked up seven goals and nine points in his last seven games for the Falcons…Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin has two shutouts in two of his last three games. 

Rookie Assembly: Friday will showcase three of the AHL’s top rookie scorers when Kubalik, Matt Calvert and Bridgeport’s Rhett Rhakhshani (7-9-16) take the ice. Calvert is fourth in rookie scoring with nine goals and eight assists while Rhakhshani is sixth with a Sound Tigers-high seven goals and nine assists. Kubalik is ranked eighth with nine goals and six assists. The Plzen, Czech Republic native has two goals and three assists in two games against Bridgeport this year.

From the Statisticians: Springfield has yet to win or lose three games in a row this season…Falcons are 27th in attendance with a 3,411 average fans per game in 12 home dates… Calvert is tied for second in the AHL with two shorthanded goals…Kubalik is tied for the league-lead with two shootout-gamewinning goals…Springfield is 8-for-19 (.421) in the shootout (4th best in the AHL)…Bridgeport is 9-3 when they score first…Bridgeport has a 92% penalty kill unit at home compared to  76.7% on the road…The Sound Tigers have been outscored 52-37 in the second and third periods combined.

Written by jfelisko

December 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Final Wrist Shot Reaction: Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 4, Springfield Falcons 2

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In a wild turn of events, the Springfield Falcons blew a 2-1 lead in the final 5:12 of the game Sunday and the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins rallied for a 4-2 victory at the MassMutual Center.

The Penguins received two goals in 29 seconds from Nick Johnson and Dustin Jeffrey as the Penguins gaves the Falcons their eighth home loss of the season.

Here are 3 keys from the Game:

AHL’s best for a Reason: The Penguins entered Sunday’s game with an AHL best 9-1 record on the road as well as the leagues best overall record at 16-4. No one should have been surprised to witness the Penguins rally from a one-goal deficit with under six minutes remaining, but for Wilkes-Barre Scranton to score two goals within 30 seconds is simply a statement of how good this Penguins team really is.

Johnson scored at 14:48 to tie the game at two when he fired home a shot past Gustaf Wesslau (21 saves) after Craig Ryan nearly scored on a wrap-a-round. Keven Veilleux was also credited with an assist.

29 seconds later, the Penguins struck again when Jeffrey scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season on a quick strike from Steve Wagner.

Defensive Struggles: One of the main contributing factors in the Falcons meltdown Sunday against the Penguins stemmed from a defensive corp that struggled to maintain possession of the puck. Rookies Theo Ruth (-1) and David Savard (-2) turned the puck over a couple of times that allowed the Penguins extra opportunities all game long.

Veteran Nick Holden struggled the most for the Falcons and was a minus-3 at the blue line.

Where are the shots?: A night after registering only 15 shots against the Norfolk Admirals the Falcons managed just five more Sunday against the Penguins. The only offensive unit that had any success in firing away was the line of Tomas Kubalik (5), Dane Byers (2) and Chris D’Alvise (1) who combined for eight of Springfield’s 20 shots.

Kubalik had the Falcons two goals and Byers had a game-high two assists.

The rest of the Springfield forwards contributed for a mere seven shots as the Falcons defensemen fired five shots at Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen (18 saves).

Springfield next hits the ice on Friday when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:30.

Wrist Shot Reaction after the 2nd Period.

Wrist Shot Reaction after the 1st Period.

For more Springfield Falcons updates you can follow Justin Felisko on twitter.

Written by jfelisko

November 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Live Wrist Shot Reaction: Tomas Kubalik scores his second of the game and Springfield leads Wilkes-Barre 2-1 through two periods

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A Bird’s Eye View Analyzing the Springfield Falcons is live inside the MassMutual Center for today’s American Hockey League match-up between the Springfield Falcons (11-10-0-1) and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (16-4-0-0). The Falcons are trying to rebound from last night’s 5-2 loss to Norfolk after being outshot 30-15.

Kubalik gets his second of the game and the Falcons hold a 2-1 lead after two periods at the MassMutual Center.

Here are 3 Keys from the second period:

Kubalik’s Kitchen: The winger notched his second goal of the night when he parked in front of the Wilkes-Barre net to the right of Thiessen. Kubalik received a crisp pass from Byers, two assists today, across the crease and banged in his ninth goal of the season.

Kubalik has three goals in the past two games and seven in the last seven games.

Kubalik-Byers-D’Alvise trio: The line of Tomas Kubalik, Dane Byers and Chris D’Alvise has produced two goals tonight and has really been the only line finding success at getting pucks at Thiessen.

The trio nearly could have had a third goal today if Byers connectted on a three-on-two rush early in the second period. Byers took a pass from Kubalik from the left side and fired a shot to the lower right corner that Thiessen turned away. D’Alvise was inches away from getting an opportunity for a rebound goal.

Wesslau shaky in net: Wesslau has 19 saves through two periods but the goaltender is allowing many second and third opportunities for the Penguins. With nearly every Penguin shot Wesslau bounces the puck in the air or in front of him before covering for a faceoff. He has to control his rebounds or else the Pens are certainly going to strike for gold in the third period.

Wesslau’s best save of the night came during the final seconds of the Penguins second power play of the game. The goaltender robbed Nick Johnson when the winger fired a one-timer from the left circle after receiving a cross ice pass.

He also made a nice save on the left side on Dustin Jeffrey and on Zach Sill on a three-on-one rush.

For up-to-the-second updates of today’s game follow Justin Felisko on twitter.

Written by jfelisko

November 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Live Wrist Shot Reaction: Springfield Falcons and Wilkes-Barre Scranton tied at 1 at the end of the first period

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A Bird’s Eye View Analyzing the Springfield Falcons is live inside the MassMutual Center for today’s American Hockey League match-up between the Springfield Falcons (11-10-0-1) and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (16-4-0-0). The Falcons are trying to rebound from last night’s 5-2 loss to Norfolk after being outshot 30-15.

A late power play goal from Tomas Kubalik has this game tied at one through one period.

Here are 3 Keys from the first period:

Special Team Success: Kubalik scored on the man advantage at 17:33 by receiving a centering pass from Chris D’Alvise in front of the net that he then five-holed past Wilkes-Barre Scranton goaltender Brad Thiessen. Dane Byers gained an assist as well after his centering pass attempt seconds earlier got redirected right to the stick of D”Alivse. The goal gives Kubalik the team lead with eight this season.

The Falcons earned the power play after the Penguin’s Jesse Boulerice was called for cross checking at 16:44.

Springfield entered the game 22nd in the AHL with a 15.4% power play percentage. On the flip side, the Falcons have found great success on the penalty kill with the league’s seventh best penalty kill unit. The Falcons killed off a Grant Clitsome delay of game penalty and did a nice job pressing offensively.

Turnover Miscues: The Penguins got the scoring started at 5:46 when Wilkes Barre jumped on a turnover by the Falcons in their own zone. Ryan Craig hammered one through Gustaf Wesslau after receiving a centering pass from Nick Johnson. Johnson wheeled down the left side boards and around the net before feeding the puck to Craig for the goal.

The Falcons failed to capitalize on a Wilkes Barre Scranton turnover in the defensive zone nearly half a minute earlier. Steven Goertzen, who took a puck to the face while blocking a shot in the final seconds, had a wide open shot at the net after the Penguins miscue but his shot fired right at Wilkes-Barre goaltender Brad Thiessen.

Falcons playing strong at the Nest: The Falcons have struggled at home all year and are 4-7 at the Mass Mutual Center. However, Springfield has held its own today against the AHL’s best road team. The Penguins are 9-1 this year at opposing venues. It’s been a split on the ice, with the goals and even the shots (7).

For up-to-the-second updates of today’s game follow Justin Felisko on twitter.

Written by jfelisko

November 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Portland Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons (Preview)

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Falcons (10-9-0-1) vs. Pirates (11-7-1-1)

Broadcast: WHYN AM 560, AHL Live

Last Ten: Springfield 4-5-0-1; Portland 7-2-1-0

Season Series: This will be the fourth meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals. Portland holds a 2-1 advantage after winning two of the three meetings by a score of 4-2. The latest coming on Nov. 10 when Luke Adam and Colin Stuart, both were called up to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, led the Pirates to victory with a goal and an assist each. Portland goaltender David Leggio stopped 30 of 32 shots. The Pirates won the teams first encounter on Oct. 16 at the Cumberland County Civic Center behind Mark Mancari’s three-point (2g, 1a) performance. The Falcons won the middle match up on Oct. 22 behind a five goal outburst during the third period. Tomas Kubalik and Chris Francis each tallied their first career professional goals in the victory.

Sinking in the Atlantic: Not only is Springfield below .500 in their past 10 games, but the Falcons are sinking towards the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Entering Friday night’s game Springfield is tied for fourth place with Providence at 21 points. Lately the Falcons have struggled majorly against division foes going 2-5-0-1 in their last eight Atlantic Division games after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Manchester.  The Falcons may have an advantage with Luke Adam and Colin Stuart, two of Portland’s top three scorers, up on recall. On the other hand though, the Pirates have been nearly unstoppable this season, especially at home where Portland has yet to lose in regulation. The Pirates are 7-3-1 against the Atlantic Division compared to the Falcons 8-8-0-1 record.


David Leggio will be the Falcons biggest challenge on Friday when Springfield tries to become the first team to beat Portland at the Cumberland County Civic Center in regulation. Photo Courtesy/Dave Roback The Republican

GP 20
10 W 11
8 L 7
0 OTL 1
1 SL 1
21 P 24
0.553 P% 0.600
3.16 G/G 2.75
3.16 GA/G 2.60
15.5 PP% 18.2
86.6 PK% 82.5
26.21 S/G 31.8
29.84 SA/G 27.75

Leading Scorers:

Springfield: Matt Calvert (8-7-15), Tom Sestito (6-8-14), Mike Blunden (8-5-13), Dane Byers (5-8-13), Ben Guite (3-10-13)

Portland: Mark Mancari (7-12-19), Mark Parrish (5-10-15), Matt Ellis (3-10-13)

The Best In Between the Pipes:

Springfield: David LeNeveu (6-5-1, 2.78 GAA, .897%)

Portland: David Leggio (8-1-0, 2.48 GAA, .922%)

Who’s Hot: Portland’s Mark Parrish has a six-game assist streak at home and has seven total assists in that span. David Leggio has only one loss this season and leads the AHL with four victories in the shootout. Nick Tarnasky has a goal in two consecutive games for Springfield.

Stanley Cup Champion makes debut: Former New Jersey Devil Jay Pandolfo made his 2010 debut Wednesday for the Falcons picking up an assist in the loss to Manchester. Pandolfo was a plus-2.  It was the 69th career American Hockey League game for Pandolfo, a 819 game NHL vet.

From the Statisticians: Springfield’s Matt Calvert is third in rookie scoring with eight goals and seven assists…The Falcons (374) are third in the Atlantic Division in penalty minutes behind Manchester (387) and Hartford (433)…Springfield has been outscored 25-21 in the second period this season…Portland’s David Schiestel (13) leads the AHL in plus-minus…the Pirates lone home loss came to the Providence Bruins 5-4 in overtime on Nov. 6…With Luke Adam and Colin Stuart on recall the Pirates are missing a duo that combined for 15 goals and 20 assists.

Written by jfelisko

November 26, 2010 at 2:09 am