SPRINGFIELD, Mass – Special teams made the difference Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, as the Connecticut Whale went 0 for 5 on power plays and the Springfield Falcons were 2/5, in a 2-1 Springfield victory.
Curtis McElhinney made 25 saves to backstop the win for the Falcons, who got goals from Michael Chaput and Nick Holden. Brandon Segal scored the only Whale goal, and Jason Missiaen made 26 saves.
After a scoreless first period in which the Whale were unable to capitalize on three man advantages, the Falcons opened the scoring on their first man-up situation of the game, 3:32 into the second period.
Former Whale Jonathan Audy-Marchessault sent the puck to Spencer Machacek on right wing, and Machacek fed back across to Chaput jamming the left-wing side. Missiaen got a piece of Chaput’s close-in shot but could not keep it out of the net.
Segal, who was in the penalty box for that goal, got the Whale even exactly two minutes later, at 5:32. Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney stopped a Stu Bickel shot, and then made an outstanding save on a Nick Palmieri rebound, but Segal pounced on the rebound of that shot and put it in.
That goal increased Segal’s team-leading total on the year to 22 and gave him a four-game goal-scoring streak, the longest by a Whale player this season. Palmieri’s assist stretched a point streak to five games (1-4-5) for him, and Bickel got the secondary assist, for his first point in three games since joining the Whale from the parent New York Rangers.
The Falcon power play struck again only 1:57 after that, though, at 7:29. Holden would put Springfield back on top with his eighth goal of the season, as his long shot through traffic from the left point found its way past Missiaen.
That turned out to be the game-winner, as the Whale outshot Springfield 7-3 in the third period, but could not manage to get anything behind McElhinney.
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