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Game Preview: Adirondack at Bridgeport
November 20, 2011

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS (9-5-1) at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (8-7-2)

Webster Bank Arena - Bridgeport, CT
Sunday, November 20 (3:00 p.m.)

Road Trip Continues

The Phantoms play the third leg of their four-game road trip when they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. After losing their road-trip opener in Portland on Tuesday, the Phantoms erupted for five goals to get their first win of the season (5-2) against Syracuse on Saturday night. The win improved the Phantoms to 9-5-1 overall and 5-3-0 on the road.

The site of Sunday’s game, Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, is where Adirondack got its biggest win (in terms of goal differential) this season—a 5-1 win on October 16. Overall, the Phantoms have scored 11 goals in the season series and are 2-0-0 against the Sound Tigers.

Since starting the season 2-3-0 and dropping two games in one weekend to the Phantoms, the Sound Tigers have gone 6-4-2 to pull to within one point of Adirondack in the Northeast Division standings.

Northeast Division Standings

1. Springfield Falcons (20 pts)
2. Albany Devils (20 pts)
3. Adirondack Phantoms (19 pts)
4. Connecticut Whale (19 pts)
5. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18 pts)

Denis Hamel Countdown – 1 Goal to Catch Merkosky

The Phantoms’ leading scorer, Denis Hamel, enters Sunday one goal behind Adirondack Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Merkosky for 12th place on the AHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. With a team-best nine goals this season, Hamel is up to 324 career tallies. Merkosky scored 325 times in a career that stretched from 1980-1991.

With an assist on Eric Wellwood’s game-winning goal on Saturday, Hamel is also now just one assist shy of 300 career helpers in the AHL, and one point from Brian Kilrea and Ken Gernander for 35th and 34th place in all-time AHL points.

In the midst of his 15th professional season, Hamel’s next game will be his 792nd in the AHL and 984th as a professional. A pro since 1997, Hamel should reach the 1,000-game milestone at some point this season.

Adirondack Phantoms (NHL Affiliate: Philadelphia Flyers)

The Phantoms’ 5-2 win on Saturday saw the team have a much-needed offensive outburst, in which five different players scored goals and 12 different players registered points.

Jason Akeson netted Adirondack’s fourth goal on Saturday and enters Sunday as the team’s hottest scorer. Akeson, a 21-year old rookie out of Orleans, Ontario, has a goal and three assists on his current, career-best four-game point streak. Akeson’s recent scoring binge gives him 12 points (3g, 9a) for the season, which is tied with Eric Wellwood (5g, 7a) for second place on the team. Denis Hamel leads the team with 15 points (9g, 6a).

Ben Holmstrom also takes a streak into Sunday’s game, as the Phantoms’ captain is the only player on the team to have scored goals in each of the first two games of the road trip. Six (2g, 4a) of Holmstrom’s eight total points (3g, 5a) have come in road games.

Rookie Garrett Roe has also done a majority of his scoring in road games. A rookie out of St. Cloud State in Minnesota, Roe has a goal and seven assists away from home, while leading the Phantoms with 10 assists overall and a +6 rating.

Although the Phantoms had a season-high 42 shots and a huge five-goal performance on Saturday in Syracuse, Jason Bacashihua provided an under-the-radar goaltending performance in which he turned away 25-of-27 shots. An 11-year pro who spent last season with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, Bacashihua has gone 3-0-1 since losing in his Phantoms debut.

Adirondack’s other goalie, Michael Leighton, enters Sunday’s game with great numbers against the Sound Tigers. This season, Leighton has gone 2-0-0, with a 2.00 goals-against average and .935 save percentage against Bridgeport.

Phantoms Leaders

Goals: Denis Hamel (9)
Assists: Garret Roe (10)
Points: Denis Hamel (15)
Plus/Minus: Garrett Roe (+6)
Penalty Minutes: Tom Sestito (56)
Wins: Michael Leighton (6)
Goals-Against Average: Michael Leighton (2.47)
Save Percentage: Jason Bacashihua (.920)
Shutouts: Michael Leighton (1)

Power Play: 20.7%/10th
Penalty Kill: 80.6%/17th

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NHL Affiliate: New York Islanders)

After starting the season with by going 2-3-0 and losing twice to the Phantoms, the Sound Tigers have used a top-heavy offensive attack to go 6-4-2 and get back in the thick of the Northeast Division standings.

No player has played a larger offensive role in the Sound Tigers’ turnaround than 6-foot-3 center David Ullstrom. A native of the hockey hotbed of Jonkoping, Sweden; Ullstrom is tied for the AHL lead with 12 goals. Ullstrom’s fine recent play includes a seven-game goal-scoring streak in which he found the net eight times, which was stopped on Saturday night against Springfield.

Just behind Ullstrom atop Bridgeport’s scoring leaders is fourth-year pro Justin DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto is second on the team in both goals (9) and points (13), and scored a goal at Glens Falls Civic Center on October 14.

The Sound Tigers boast a pair of big bruisers who are as feared as anybody in pro hockey. The mustachioed Trevor Gillies and southpawed-swinging Micheal Haley both played key roles in the notorious New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins brawl last February, which was the talk of the NHL last winter.

With Bridgeport, Gillies and Haley bang bodies in defense of goaltender Kevin Poulin. With Anders Nilsson having been called up to the Islanders and Mikko Koskinen having departed the AHL to play pro hockey in his native Finland, Poulin is expected to carry the Sound Tigers’ load in goal for the next little while. Although Poulin gave up five goals and lost in his only outing against the Phantoms, he carries with him the praise of one of the best goalies in hockey history. When Poulin was playing for the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2009-10, Quebec Remparts coach and Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy labeled Poulin as the brightest goalie prospect in the QMJHL. Poulin is 17-11-1 in two professional seasons, split between the Sound Tigers and New York Islanders.

Sound Tigers Leaders

Goals: David Ullstrom (12)
Assists: Dylan Reese (9)
Points: David Ullstrom (14)
Plus/Minus: Casey Cizikas (+4)
Penalty Minutes: Micheal Haley (32)
Wins: Anders Nilsson (5)
Goals-Against Average: Mikko Koskinen (2.82)
Save Percentage: Mikko Koskinen (.909)
Shutouts: None

Power Play: 15.1%/22nd
Penalty Kill: 88.1%/Tied for 2nd

Stat Pack

--The Adirondack Phantoms have a 6-0-0 all-time record against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

--The Phantoms have scored at least one power-play goal in 11-of-15 games this season. In three of the four games that they haven’t scored on the power play, the Phantoms’ game-winning goal has come shorthanded. Adirondack is 4-0-0 in games when it does not score a power-play goal.

-Adirondack has a 34-21-9 record since last December 20, when Joe Paterson took over as the team’s head coach. Paterson, who was previously a head coach in the AHL with the Louisville Panthers (1999-2001), is now just three wins from 100 as an AHL head coach.

--Adirondack has a 5-3-0 record away from home. Garrett Roe leads the team in road scoring with seven points (1g, 7a). Roe also leads the Phantoms with 10 assists and a +6 rating for the season.

--Michael Leighton has a 2.20 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in road games.

--Jason Bacashihua is 3-0-1 in his last four starts.

--Tom Sestito has goals in both games against the Sound Tigers this season.

--Adirondack is 4-2-0 in the second half of back-to-back games.

--The Phantoms’ win on Saturday improved their record to a perfect 4-0-0 when outshooting their opponents. Adirondack also improved to 7-0-1 when leading after two periods.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, November 20, 1:00 - Dax appears at South Glens Falls parade

Sunday, November 20, 3:00 - Phantoms at Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Monday, November 21, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE from McGinny's Tavern, 193 Glen Street. Player guests, #18 Tyler Brown and #38 Jason Akeson. Ticket and t-shirt giveaways for fans live at the show. Live broadcast on Q101.7.

Thursday, November 25, 6:05 - Phantoms at Binghamton Senators. Thanksgiving game in Binghamton.

Upcoming Home Games and Promotions

Friday, November 25, 7:00 - Springfield Falcons at Phantoms. Annual Black Friday game. '80s Night. $2 draft beer specials through first intermission, Bud Light and Labatt Blue Light.

Saturday, November 26, 7:00 - Albany Devils at Phantoms. Time Warner Cable Cup Rivalry Game #2. Phantoms Snow Cap Giveaway for first 1,000 kids (age 14 and younger) courtesy of UniFirst.

Get great savings and have fun with your friends, family or co-workers by bringing your group of 15 or more fans to enjoy fast-paced, hard-hitting Phantoms hockey. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355 and check the team's website at phantomshockey.com.

Catch all the action of Phantoms hockey all season long on the team's flagship station, Classic Hits Q101.7 and on phantomshockey.com. Bob Rotruck has the broadcast coverage 30 minutes prior to game-time with
Countdown to Faceoff.

Recently reaching 4,000 Twitter followers , the Adirondack Phantoms are now over 10,000 members strong on their social media networks. Be sure to follow us on twitter @phantomshockey and on facebook.com/adkhockey



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