Springfield, Ma.(AHL.com) – The Springfield Falcons (42-21-5-4) received the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy as the Northeast Division champions on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center before undergoing a 2-0 loss to the Providence Bruins (46-21-0-5).
Falcons President and General Manager Bruce Landon along with team captain Ryan Craig accepted the trophy from AHL President and CEO David Andrews prior to the contest, celebrating the club’s third division championship in franchise history, and first since 1997-98. Springfield clinched the division championship on the road in Portland last Sunday.
The game marked the start of Fan Appreciation Weekend at the MassMutual Center. New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley’s appearance at the contest, presented by Sherwin Williams, was one of the highlights on a festive evening at The Nest.
Carter Camper and Matt Lindblad scored a pair of special-teams goals minutes apart in the second period, while Michael Hutchinson made 35 saves on 37 shots. Springfield, heading into its last home game of the regular season versus Connecticut on Sunday, is tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with Syracuse and trails Providence by four points for the top spot.
Camper netted his goal, the game winner, 6:45 into the second period with Providence working on its third power play of the outing. Positioned at the bottom of the left circle, Camper bounced a left-point point feed from Torey Krug by Springfield netminder Curtis McElhinney, putting the Bruins on the board, 1-0.
Krug’s pass with the Bruins working shorthanded less than three minutes later led to Providence’s second conversion. The rookie blueliner took a puck behind his net and backhanded it through the neutral zone to Matt Lindblad, playing in his first professional contest. Lindblad skated to the left face-off dot and wristed a puck over McElhinney’s glove and in at 9:21, as Providence went up, 2-0.
Springfield’s attempts to chip into the deficit were foiled by Hutchinson. The netminder denied a lengthy five-on-three power play moments after Lindblad’s goal, and made 23 saves total on the game.
McElhinney (28-15-3) set aside 35 shots, including 28 over the first two periods. Hutchinson (11-13-3) registered his second shutout of the season. Springfield was blanked for the second time in 2012-13, and the first at home since Oct. 21, 2011.
On Sunday, the Boston Bruins Alumni Team, featuring legends Ray Bourque and Terry O’Reilly, will play an exhibition game at the MassMutual Center at 12:30 p.m. prior to the Falcons’ home regular-season finale versus the Connecticut Whale at 3 p.m. Following the game, the Falcons will sign autographs for fans in the MassMutual Center concourse.
Single-game tickets to watch the Falcons compete in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals are on sale now at the MassMutual Center Box Office, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Springfield’s postseason schedule will be announced on FalconsAHL.com when available. The AHL’s regular season ends on Sunday, Apr. 21.
The loss ended Springfield’s three-game winning streak…David Savard’s four-game assist streak (0g-4a) ended, as did Sean Collins’ three-game assist streak (3g-3a)…Springfield is now 4-4-0-1 against Providence. The teams close out the season series on Apr. 19 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center…The Falcons had played in 71-straight home games without being shut out prior to Saturday…McElhinney and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault each received their AHL All-Star Team awards prior to the game