Photo by Wendy McCann/Springfield Falcons
-The hottest team in the AHL is the Springfield Falcons, who added to their nine-game winning streak with two wins this weekend, while getting the scoring from a various amount of sources. Domenic Monardo had two goals Saturday after missing Friday’s game and Anton Forsberg stopped 54 of 57 shots thrown at him this weekend for two wins. The Falcons are on the verge of history in a local sense, as no Springfield based team has ever won ten games in a row. Shocking considering there have been solid teams around in the Springfield area, including Calder Cup champions; but it’s promising for the Columbus Blue Jackets farm club– who are coming off a 100-point campaign last season; their first since the 1995-96 season.
–Josh Harding made his long awaited Iowa Wild debut and stopped 50 of 54 shots in a 5-4 shootout loss against the San Antonio Rampage. In his first game action of the year, it seemed that Harding played well enough to possibly make some more starts over Johan Gustafsson for the slumping Iowa Wild. After being sent down by Minnesota following a suspension for a mysterious foot injury that was self-infliceted, Harding was quickly shuffled out of the trio of goalies in Minnesota. Should this keep up, he’ll be able to get a quick recall and push for starting time in the Twin Cities.
-Keep your eyes peeled at the play of Clarke Saunders for the Colorado Eagles. Saunders played both games this weekend and only surrendered one goal on 60 shots by the Ontario Reign, putting his win streak to five games this season. Even with a long lay-off that Saunders had, as he hadn’t played since November 1st, Saunders was able to keep his hot hand going and registered his first pro shutout of his career. The tandem of Saunders and Doug Carr have led the Eagles to having the second-lowest goals-against total in the ECHL– but may need some more goal support to keep the good times rolling.
-With three goals this weekend, Anthony Luciani ended a strong November with 10 goals and and nine assists for the month, helping the Toledo Walleye get to second in the North Division, with two game in hand over the Fort Wayne Komets. It’s been quite the turnaround season for the Walleye, who have 12 wins this year when it took them until January 12th, 2014 to get their 12th win in the ’13-14 campaign. Whether it be the fact they are down to only one parent NHL organization or the wisdom of Derek Lalonde, but the Walleye are the second highest scoring team in the league with 73 (Orlando Solar Bears are first at 76), but are tops in the league with 4.56 goals per game. Add that to the play of surprising starter Jeff Lerg, the Walleye have bounced back in a huge way.
-The battle of the SPHL titans this weekend, and predictably it ended in a split as both Peoria and Pensacola took a game in their weekend set. On Friday, it only too seven seconds for Peoria’s Ben Warda to end the game with an overtime winner, despite Max Strang stopping 49 of 52 shots thrown at him by the Rivermen. However, Strang bounced back big on Saturday with a 32-save shutout, his fourth of the season. Adam Pawlick added two goals, putting his SPHL leading total to 13 goals on the season.
-It looks like the Columbus Cottonmouths have cured their hangover from reaching the Finals last season, as they have won six straight games, including the four games they had this week. In the two games over the weekend, Matt Gingera put up a goal and three assists, Neilsson Arcibal potting a goal and two assists, and Bryce Williamson putting up two goals of his own. The six-game win streaks has the Cottonmouths up to 5th in the SPHL and the hottest team in the league looks to be striking in a big way now.
-Look out for the Berkshire Battalion. After this weekend, which included a big victory over the top team in the Federal League, the Watertown Wolves, the Battalion have moved their way up to fourth in the league. With 14 goals on the weekend– three from Tyler Prendergast and two from Martin Uhnak— the Battalion are slowing getting their game together with four straight wins, as the FHL is closing in on the mid-season mark.