Game Night 11/2: Falcons at River Rats
Blogging this one live via B2 Networks. It will be my first time to see Coleman this season. Tonight's starting lineup for the Falcons:
Henrik Bergfors' brother Nicklas is starting for Albany.
ALB-3 (3rd Period)
1. Springfield- Reid, (Henrich, Tiley)
2. Albany- Pihlman, (Schultz, DeMarchi)(PP)
Pretty good road period. I have to say, Albany is impressive. They skate well and they pass the puck well and despite the fact the Falcons got the early goal they seemed a bit on their heels. I'm very proud the way the Falcons bounced back to compete harder and begin to even up the play after the initial flurry. Reid's goal came on a long diagonal breakout pass from Tiley and what seemed like a little pick that freed Reid to zip down right wing and get a breakaway. Nice finish for Reid going forehand to backhand and sliding it low and through Doyle. Albany struck back pretty quickly on the power play with some nice puck movement. Schultz slid a diagonal cross ice pass from the left point to the right circle to Pihlman and Coleman was beaten easily with the shot low glove side. Gerald plays very deep in the net and he's not terribly quick side to side so he really had no chance on that goal. He's had some moments that were pretty frightening not following the puck so well and reacting a little late to shots, but he's made enough saves to keep this close.
Brad Tiley must be feeling a lot better than the last time I saw him because he's been outstanding at both ends of the ice thus far. The Falcons power play looks strong despite being 0-for-2. Jaspers hit a post on the first power play and rolled out from behind the net for a point blank chance on the second. 5-on-5 Albany looks like the better team thus far, but if the Falcons can get the Rats in the box they'll be able to put the pressure on.
3. Springfield- Milley, (Tiley, Helbling)(PP)
4. Albany- Redlihs, (Miller, Ryznar)(PP)
5. Albany- Murphy, (Bergfors, Tallackson)
I was about to say the Falcons had played a perfect road game up until they surrendered two unanswered after Norm Milley scored the go ahead goal. The Falcons are struggling mightily to breakout, move the puck through the neutral zone and get it in deep to start the forecheck. The only way they seem to be able to do it is to get the puck to Kvapil and let him carry it. Marek was probably the best player in the period for Springfield. Milley's power play goal came off a long point shot from the left point by Tiley which hit a body and sprang to Milley at the right circles all alone for the goal.
Unfortunately, Deveaux took a high sticking call shortly thereafter and Albany capitalized on a long point shot that hit a body in front and went in on Coleman through the 5-hole. Albany's go ahead goal came on a play where Bergfors looped through the zone and appeared to have his play broken up by Harlan Pratt only to have the puck squirt to an uncovered Rat in the high slot. Again, Coleman plays very deep in his net and he got caught on the wrister.
The good news is if the Falcons win a period they'll get at least a point out of the game. My hope is that Graham will put Jaspers and Kvapil together to see if their speed can beat Albany through the neutral zone.
6. Springfield- Vesce, (Milley, Campbell)(PP)
7. Springfield- Packard, (H.Pratt, Reid)
Steal the points.
They put themselves in a decent road situation by hanging around all game long and then really started to generate pressure in the third on the forecheck and pinching in hard. Albany got a couple of odd man rushes as a result, but the gambles paid off. With the exception of the power play Deveaux drew at the end of the 2nd period the Falcons were strong on the power play all night long. Vesce's tying goal came on a hard centering feet from the left wing boards to Vesce cutting towards the net and tipping the puck home. And then they get the bounce as a point shot from the point deflected off Packard to get the game winning goal. Jason Jaspers also hit a post in the period on a slap shot steaming down left wing after the power play to start the period expired. If there was any justice, Jason would've found the scoresheet. He played a strong game.
I doubt it's dog house related considering how long he was off the ice, so we may find out after the game that Adam Henrich was injured in this one. I don't recall seeing him in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
Gerald Coleman stopped 29 of 32 shots faced for the win and was awarded the first star of the game. I don't necessarily agree, although he played a solid third period. Norm Milley, the game's second star, deserved top honors in my eyes. I would've found a way to put Tiley in the three stars as well. Jaspers and Kvapil were outstanding despite not finding the scoresheet. Reid with a multi-point night along with Tiley and Milley.
On Albany's side, it was hard not to be impressed by Bergfors' speed and stickhandling ability. He's going to be a good one.