C&W Buzzsaw: Bears Look to Ground Falcons
Springfield Falcons (15-6-2-3) vs. Hershey Bears (14-12-1-1)
Saturday December 22, 2012 Season Series:
Bears lead 1-0-0-0
The Bears defeated the Falcons 3-2 in a shootout way back on November 2nd at the MassMutual Center. Boyd Kane and Matt Pope scored goals in regulation for the Chocolate & White and Stanislav Galiev scored the game winner in the shootout. Braden Holtby turned away 31 of the 33 he saw and six of seven in the shootout to get the win.
This is the second and final time the two will meet in the regular season.
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Bears are seemingly shaking off their sluggish start, winning seven of their last ten games, including a 4-0 blanking of the Norfolk Admirals on Hall of Fame night at Giant Center. The Chocolate & White got goals from Mattias Sjogren (3), Ryan Potulny (4), Tomas Kundratek (9), and Boyd Kane (5), while getting a 35 save shutout from Holtby to send the Admirals packing. Although the Falcons have been very solid all year long, staying near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, they are coming off a pretty heartbreaking loss to the Portland Pirates on Wednesday night in Portland. Leading 2-1 with less than six minutes to go, the Falcons surrendered two goals in 26 seconds and ultimately fell 3-2. David Savard and Ryan Johansen scored in the losing effort while goaltender Allen York took the loss between the pipes. After a 10-2-1-3 start, the Falcons have split their last ten games, going 5-4-1-0.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
The Bears recalled forward Galiev from the Reading Royals and he played in Hershey’s victory over the Admirals Wednesday night. The Bears reassigned defenseman Brett Flemming to Reading yesterday. Two minor transactions for the Falcons last weekend as they signed defenseman Chris Reed to a PTO from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL on the 16th and then releasing him from the PTO the following day. On the 18th, the Falcons recalled defenseman (and former contracted Bears player) Patrick Cullity from the Idaho Steelheads, also of the ECHL.
Players To Watch:
Bears forward Jeff Taffe is red hot. The veteran forward is currently tied for third in scoring with 29 points and he is second in the league in assists with 23. For the Falcons, forward Cam Atkinson leads the charge. He is second in the league in scoring; one point ahead of Taffe and his 15 goals leads the Falcons by a wide margin. If the Bears are going to have success defensively, they are going to have to contain Atkinson.
Between The Pipes:
With both teams being off since Wednesday, look for the league’s busiest goaltenders to have a rematch of their November 2nd encounter, the Falcons Curtis McElhinney and the Bears’ Braden Holtby.
Injuries & Scratches:
The Bears will be without defenseman Dmitry Orlov (upper body), and forwards Ryan Stoa (upper body), and Jon Kalinski (hand). Stoa and Kalinski are back skating during practices and Orlov is hopefully expected to start skating very soon. The Falcons will most likely be without defenseman John Moore and defenseman Dalton Prout is day to day but could see action tonight. Former Bears blue liner Greg Amadio has only played one game for the Falcons this season and is injured, no word whether he will suit up tonight or not.
The rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will invade Giant Center on Wednesday (12/26) for a day after Christmas tussle at 7 PM.
Jeff Taffe – 6g, 23a – 29 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 9g, 15a – 24 pts
Zach Hamill – 9g, 8a – 17 pts
Cam Atkinson – 15g, 15a – 30 pts
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault – 8g, 19a – 27 pts
Nick Drazenovic – 8g, 15a – 23 pts