Falcons outlast Bruins in overtime, take 1-0 series lead

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP/FALCONS) – The Springfield Falcons defeated the Providence Bruins by the final score of 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five, Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

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Fans gave the team an enthusiastic sendoff, lining up outside the Basketball Hall of Fame Wednesday night. They want everyone to know that their team is in the running for a Calder Cup Championship.

Springfield Falcons President Sarah Pompea told 22News, “We have a very strong team. We have a lot of character and veterans on our team, and we’re hoping for a long playoff push. I hope we’re playing well into June.”

Andrew Joudrey scored the game-winning goal 2:21 into overtime, firing a wrist shot from the right-wing circle past Providence netminder Niklas Svedberg. For Joudrey, it was the fourth goal and second overtime game-winner of his AHL postseason career. The Bedford, Nova Scotia native has totaled 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 71 career AHL playoff games.

After falling behind, 1-0, after 20 minutes of play, the Falcons rebounded with two goals in the second period. Jean-Francois Jacques found the back of the net at the 2:46 mark, one-timing a cross-ice feed from rookie Marko Dano to even the score at 1-1.

Springfield took a 2-0 edge at 16:14 of the middle frame when Ryan Craig redirected a Patrick McNeill shot from the point past Svedberg. Craig now has 22 points and seven goals in 33 career AHL playoff games.

Providence evened the score at 2-2 with 12:17 remaining in the third period, as forward Ryan Spooner notched his third career playoff goal. The Bruins first goal, a power-play tally scored at the 13:41 mark of the opening period, was registered by defenseman David Warsofsky.

Mike McKenna made 35 saves on 37 shots in net for the Falcons, earning the win and improving to 4-8 in his AHL postseason career. Svedberg stopped 31 of 34 shots faced in a losing effort for Providence.

The Falcons went 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 1 Wednesday night, while the Bruins went 1-for-7.

With the victory, Springfield holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five, Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with three of the four potential remaining games at home. The Falcons are now 5-8 all-time in Game 1 playoff matchups in the team’s 20-year history.

The series now shifts to Springfield for Game 2 and Game 3, scheduled for Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, respectively. Both games begin at the MassMutual Center at 7:00 p.m.

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