Springfield, Ma (AHL.com). – Boone Jenner scored with 29 seconds remaining in regulation on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center, sparking the Northeast Division-champion Springfield Falcons (43-21-5-4) to a dramatic 4-3 victory in their regular-season home finale over the Connecticut Whale (35-30-6-3).
The victory, earned in front of a crowd of 5,585 fans in the latter game of Fan Appreciation Weekend, propelled the playoff-bound Falcons back into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference standings heading into the final week of the 2012-13 season. Springfield netted its 43rd win of the campaign, the second most in franchise history. The Falcons are two wins shy of their record of 45, set in 1997-98.
Andrew Joudrey ignited the Falcons early, snapping a puck over Whale netminder Jason Missiaen’s glove on a rush in the left circle at 6:50 of the first, giving Springfield a 1-0 lead.
Connecticut stormed back later in the frame as Kris Newbury sent in a rebound off a Mike Vernace power-play shot at 10:43 while Micheal Haley batted in a centering feed from Christian Thomas on the doorstep at 14:53 to put Connecticut on top, 2-1.
The Falcons pulled even in the second, as Dalton Smith’s wraparound chance squirted off of Missiaen to Michael Chaput in the slot. Chaput drove the puck in at 7:11, making it 2-2.
J.T. Miller led a rush into Springfield’s end moments later to help put the Whale back in front. Miller cut in front of Springfield’s net and guided a puck toward the goal from the left circle. Falcons goaltender Allen York slowed down the shot, but Brandon Mashinter tipped in the rebound at 11:00 to provide the Whale with a 3-2 edge.
Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who took the upper hand in a fight with Benn Ferriero earlier in the contest, caused a turnover in Connecticut’s zone late in the middle stanza as the Falcons clawed back once more. Audy-Marchessault knocked a puck down behind the net and centered it for Matthew Ford, who snapped the opportunity by Missiaen at 18:54, tying the contest, 3-3.
Jenner’s tally late finished off a strong shift by the Falcons, as Springfield brought the puck into Connecticut’s end and maintained it in enemy territory. Michael Chaput fed David Savard at the right point, and the defenseman’s ensuing shot created a rebound for Jenner in the crease. Jenner charged the goal and pushed the puck by Missiaen’s stick at 19:31, as Springfield won, 4-3.
York (12-6-0) stopped 16 of 19 shots to win his second start of the weekend. Missiaen (10-8-2) allowed four goals on 21 attempts.
The Falcons ended their home slate with a 24-10-1-3 record at the MassMutual Center. Springfield’s .684 points percentage on home ice was the third best in franchise history, and highest since the 1996-97 season. The Falcons averaged 3,906 fans per game at The Nest, their highest total since 2008-09 (3,952).
The Falcons take to the road for their final three regular-season contests, venturing to Worcester on Wednesday, Providence on Friday, and Adirondack on Saturday.
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.
Jenner’s goal was his first as a Falcon in exactly one year. He scored on Apr. 14, 2012 in the club’s regular-season finale, a 3-1 win over St. John’s…The Falcons won the season series over the Whale with a 7-5-0-0 record in the 12 meetings…Audy-Marchessault’s assist was his team-best 64th point (20g-44a), matching his 2011-12 total. He paced Springfield with 15 points (1g-14a) against Connecticut this season…The Falcons ended the year with a 14-3-0-0 record in Sunday competition…Springfield equaled its franchise high of 22 games over .500, set two days earlier in Adirondack