The Springfield Falcons biffed the Providence Bruins into last month, overcooking prized goaltender Anton Khudobin for five goals-against en route to a 7-2 decision before an audience of 7,310 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Khudobin left at the 66-second mark of the third period with his worst single-night transcript since a 7-1 submission to Manchester five weeks prior, stopping only 23 shots out of 28 and combining a 7.30 goals-against average with a .821 save percentage.
Backup Michael Hutchinson repelled six out of eight shots-faced.
The Falcons’ power play lunged out to a 2-for-2 start within the opening frame, beginning at 4:53, when winger Nick Drazenovic lassoed and raked home a fugitive rebound from the slot.
Former P-Bruins playmaker Martin St. Pierre had the primary assist both times as Springfield raised its upper hand to 3-0 on two straight, sparsely distributed stabs at Khudobin. First, NHL veteran and recent Falcons’ signee Brett Lebda converted St. Pierre’s feed to polish off a fleeting odd-man rush with 13:28 gone.
Two minutes and 18 seconds later, with Providence’s own old guard representative, Chris Clark, caged for cross-checking, St. Pierre set up Cam Atkinson for their team’s second 5-on-4 conversion.
St. Pierre rounded out a playmaker hat trick and helped elevate the Falcons’ lead to 4-0 when he set up Alexandre Giroux for a third power-play tally at 15:12 of the second period.
The P-Bruins, who thrust 21 biscuits at Springfield stopper Manny Legace in the middle frame, finally retorted 72 seconds after Giroux’s goal. Zach Hamill strolled the puck onto Falcons’ property and dished things over to Lane MacDermid, who in turn set up Carter Camper for a top-shelf tally.
Only 20 seconds after the Falcons finished killing a carry-over penalty, Atkinson buried his second goal of the night on a centering feed by Andrew Joudrey. That was enough to cloud Atkinson’s guilt when he later sat in the box for delay of game and watched Jamie Tardif insert a Providence power-play strike with 10:15 to spare.
Ditto Springfield’s fourth and final man-up strike via Nick Holden with 84 seconds left and Aaron Bogosian’s goal that finalized the 7-2 upshot.
Through the home team’s second-period icebreaker, Camper and Hamill each lengthened their respective point-getting streaks to three games. MacDermid, meanwhile, tallied his first point of the month after a six-game drought that spanned the full length of two three-game weekends.
Camper, Hamill and MacDermid would be the lone Providence skaters with a positive rating on the night.
The leaned-on line of Max Sauve, Josh Hennessy and Tardif spent substantial amounts of even-strength and power-play time swarming the Springfield zone during that rubber blizzard that was the middle frame. Yet for all of that, each constituent had only gotten around to registering one SOG apiece by the 40-minute mark.
The longer it goes on, the worse it looks on Jamie Arniel’s resume. Last year’s team-leading scorer had five shots on goal, the most since Oct. 23 against Albany, yet his scoring drought has lived on to the age of 11 games.
Craig Cunningham went the first 40-plus minutes without a shot on net and finished the night with a minus-2 rating, putting himself in company with Tyler Randell in that regard.
Giroux, wearing his seventh AHL uniform in 11 professional seasons and now a veteran of 712 games in the league, claimed the secondary assist on his team’s second power play goal and had an intangible role in the first. In the fifth minute of action, his partial breakaway was foiled by Colby Cohen, whose action warranted a two-minute holding sentence, which only lasted 26 seconds before Drazenovic broke the ice.
Blueliner Cody Goloubef was credited with an assist on each of Springfield’s first two strikes. He then joined St. Pierre in the triple-helper club with the secondary assist on Holden’s brownie biscuit.
Dane Byers notched two assists of his own.
Legace amassed a season-high 34 saves in six AHL outings between Springfield and San Antonio.
Putting in his fifth appearance with the P-Bruins, Clark registered (five) shots on goal, the most he has had in a single game with Providence to date.
Stefan Chaput and Trent Whitfield continue to nurse their respective injuries. Forward Kyle MacKinnon and blueliner Ryan Button were the two healthy scratches for the Spoked-Ps.