Meeting tonight for the first time since Springfield forward Wade MacLeod suffered a seizure on the ice prompting the suspension of their game on Feb. 17, the Falcons and the Adirondack Phantoms will meet at the MassMutual Center tonight.
MacLeod hit the ice and required medical attention, eventually being taken off the ice in a stretcher, after he sustained a hit from behind into the boards by by Adirondack's Brandon Manning, who was boarding with 3:42 remaining in the second period.
The game was ultimately suspended. MacLeod was later diagnosed with a benign mass in his brain.
Tonight, the two teams will resume the Feb. 17 game at 6:05 p.m., picking up the game from where it was left off with Adirondack leading Springfield 2-1. That game will be open to the public.
After the conclusion of that game, the MassMutual Center will be cleared out and only those people holding tickets for tonight's regularly-scheduled game will be admitted. The latter game will start at 7:30 p.m.
The Falcons (30-14-4-3, 67 points) are currently second in the Eastern Conference, trailing first-place Syracuse by seven points, while maintaining a 10-point edge over the Connecticut Whale in the Northeast Conference.
Adirondack is last in the division, sporting a 21-27-2-1 record for 45 points.
Those expecting another 200-plus penalty minute melee like the one that occurred last Friday may find themselves disappointed.
Falcons head coach Brad Larsen told The Republican that the team will focus on capturing the two points by applying pressure early on the power play that will commence when play resumes and will not try to exact revenge for MacLeod.
“There was a lot of remorse on both sides after what happened to Wade,” Larsen told The Republican's Garry Brown. “But we all realize it was nothing more than a two-minute boarding penalty. Everyone understands that.”
Larsen also said that the unique circumstances will have some effect on how he handles his goaltending situation, but said no decisions would be made until after today's morning skate.
Friday night is also Irish Night at the Nest. As part of the Irish celebration, the Falcons will wear green specialty jerseys, corned-beef sliders will be available in the concourse, and traditional Irish music will play throughout the game.
The Falcons' long weekend will continue on Saturday when they host the Providence Bruins during their Pink in the Rink night to support the Mary Kay Foundation.
The last meeting of these two teams at the Nest yielded the season-high crowd of 6,497 as the Falcons topped the Bruins 4-2, thanks to two goals from Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and a four-assist night for Nick Drazenovic, who has since been called up by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Providence enters the weekend tied with the Portland Pirates for first in the Atlantic Division and are currently fifth in the conference.
The weekend finishes up with a home bout against the Worcester Sharks on Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Sharks (25-21-1-5) have been a true test for the Falcons this season, who hold a 2-2-1-0 record against their in-state rival, including a 5-1 loss on Feb. 24 in which Springfield fired 38 shots, but found little success against Worcester goalie Alex Stalock.
The Falcons will host a postgame skate with current players for the fans following Sunday's game.