I will be live blogging this one using the B2 feed as the Falcons try to snap their own losing streak. Starting lineups:
And the main attraction: Jonathan Boutin
SPR-1 (End 3rd)
1. Bridgeport- Smith, (unassisted)
[i]What a slooooowwww pace to this game. The balance of play was carried by Bridgeport which isn't really being challenged very hard physically in the corners and have had their forecheck working all game long. They're generating scoring chances but to the Falcons' credit, they blocked a ton of shots in this period. Bridgeport's lone goal came on a turnover by Harlan Pratt in the corner when there was a miscommunication with Doug O'Brien
. A subsequent centering attempt ping ponged off O'Brien to a wide open Sound Tiger for an easy point blank score. Boutin, who looked composed, under control and was following the puck well in the period, didn't have a chance on that one.
Best scoring chance of the period came on a nice play early in the first when the Falcons used their point men well. Brad Tiley moved the puck for the left point to the center point to Gerard Dicaire
who made a nice diagonal pass to the left circle for Campbell who couldn't finish. Scoring chances have been few and far between though. The Falcons really need to try and get Bridgeport into the box to shift the pace of this game. As of now, the Sound Tigers aren't being challenged much. As a PS, Zbynek Hrdel
hasn't looked out of place on the Falcons' second line.
2. Bridgeport- Smith, (Tunik, Flache)
3. Springfield- Reid, (H.Pratt)(PP)
[i]Jonathan Boutin really struggled with his rebound control in that period. By my count he allowed four pretty bad rebounds on long shots, one of which ended up in the back of the net. On three of those, Jonathan was unscreened. That's mental. I know and he knows he is technically better than that. On the other side of the coin, he also made an unbelievably quick recovery save on the first of those rebounds and he did make the save of the game thus far to keep the Falcons in this thing sliding post to post on a Bridgeport 3-on-1 to rob a shooter with his left pad. That is a save I doubt Eklund or Coleman, heck even Burke or Grahame, would have made.
Timo Helbling had a wide open chance in the slot early in the period and decided to shoot the puck well over the net. Shame, because for much of the period it was about the only quality chance Springfield had on Madden. That's not to say the Falcons aren't getting stronger on the forecheck as the game goes on. They're starting to draw some calls and they finally cashed in after some very poor looking power plays. A very stupid double minor late in the period by Bridgeport ended up in the back of the net when a long Harlan Pratt slap shot hit a defender in front and squirted to Darren Reid
in the slot who buried the power play goal. He earned it stripping a Sound Tigers defender who looked like he had an easy clear earlier in the shift. Falcons have the second half of the double minor and momentum going into the third.[/i]
[i]Jonathan Boutin deserved better. I can't give him the A+ tonight for the five bad rebounds he kicked around, but he gave the Falcons every opportunity to win this game. In the third period he was magnificent. On one save he moved quickly and efficiently from his right post to the top of his crease to get square and stifle a great chance by Wyatt Smith
in the slot. And that's one thing I think he was absolutely fantastic in tonight. When I saw him in Johnstown's opener earlier this year he played at times a little out of control, overplaying his angles at time. He was deadly efficient tonight moving around his crease. Giguere efficient. Dare I say it considering he's wearing that #35 right now, Khabibulin efficient. The problems I saw in this game with the rebounds and some polishing he needs to his stickhandling are easily correctable. That kind of athleticism and technical capability to play under control and technically efficient are not something as easy to bestow. He's taken a lot of shots to his reputation deserved and undeserved because of his nomadic junior career, but he showed why he was a first day draft pick tonight, especially in the third when he later stoned Bergenheim on a partial breakaway in the third and then bailed out Jay Rosehill
on a bad turnover in the corner that allowed a Sound Tiger to roll out from behind the cage 1-on-1 against Boutin. 19 saves on 21 shots on the game. I remain very excited about his future.
Darren Reid was named the second star for his goal. He had a nice game and in general I'd like to see Graham play that third line more. It's kind of ridiculous how little Tarnasky plays considering he was just in the NHL for nine games. The Milley/Vesce/Campbell line was very ineffective tonight and I would've liked to have seen some of their minutes peeled off to Tarnasky and Reid. In general the team got in good position on dump ins to win loose pucks, but they just could not seem to win any one-on-one battles to sustain the forecheck and start the cycle. On defense, I really wonder at what point you send Rosehill back to Johnstown and recall Egener. Rosehill is a nice prospect, but he isn't ready to play a lot of minutes at the AHL level quite yet and it shows.[/i]