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Late Admirals Comeback Ends Adirondack Win Streak

December 3, 2011


A late comeback by the Norfolk Admirals ended the Adirondack Phantoms' four-game win streak in a 2-1 decision at Norfolk Scope Arena Saturday night. The Phantoms leave south-eastern Virigina with a split of the two-game weekend series after a 5-1 win on Friday.

Michael Leighton was phenomenal again and for the first 52 minutes of the contest looked like he was going to make the one goal advantage hold up for the Phantoms. But a pair of goals by Tyler Johnson with eight minutes remaining and then 30 seconds left pushed the home team to an emotionally charged victory.

With emotions running high on both sides all weekend, the teams culminated the weekend with a big line-brawl in the corner after the final horn had sounded. Well after the game was concluded, the officials were still sorting out all the penalties. Ben Holmstrom and Jason Akeson were a couple of the primary Phantoms combatants in the end-of-game exchange while Norfolk goalie Dustin Tokarski came racing over from his crease as well to jump into the pile-on.

Adirondack fell to 13-8-1 with the loss and dropped to four points behind the Northeast Division leading Connecticut Whale who won their Saturday night game against Springfield. The Phantoms are still in sole possession of second place in the division.

Jason Akeson's laser-beam slapper from the top of the left circle early in the second period staked the Phantoms to the initial 1-0 lead early in the second period. His power-play blast went over the left shoulder of Norfolk goalie Dustin Tokarski and pinged off the underside of the cross-bar and the far-post for the perfectly placed goal. It was the 21-year-old Akeson's 7th goal of the year and was assisted by Denis Hamel and Cullen Eddy.

Leighton made several incredible saves throughout the night and preserved a 1-0 lead for Adirondack through the first two periods despite the Phantoms being outshot 25-11. One blast from the right-wing bounced off the post behind him, off of Leighton's back, and then mere inches from the goal-line when he acrobatically dove backward to cover with his glove.

It was a somewhat familiar scene for Admirals fans watching Leighton pull his wizardry over and over. He began his professional career in Norfolk in 2001 and starred for the Admirals through 2005 accumulating a franchise-leading 75 wins along the way.

But Leighton's terrific goaltending could only keep the Admirals out of the net for so long.

Tyler Johnson raced up the right-wing for Norfolk with eight minutes remaining and fired a centering cross through the crease. The puck took an unlucky bounce for the Phantoms as it hit off the leg of new Adirondack defenseman Andy Thomas and into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

Oliver Lauridsen was called for a delay of game penalty with 2:33 remaining in the contest allowing Norfolk to go on a late power play in the deadlocked contest. Norfolk didn't score on that man advantage but as Lauridsen had just returned to the ice, Tyler Johnson found a loose puck in the slot off a Leighton rebound and was able to bury the game-winner with 30 seconds left with his second goal of the night.

Adirondack is 1-1-1 against Norfolk in 2011-12 and will take on the Admirals five more times this season. The whole weekend series featured several scraps and altercations including the brawl at the end of the second game. The Admirals travel to Glens Falls next on February 3. The Phantoms' next visit to Norfolk Scope take place November 10-11.

Norfolk outshot the Phantoms 34-18. Adirondack went 1-for-7 on the power play while the Admirals were 0-for-5.

The Phantoms have held their opposition to 0-for-25 on the power play over their last five games.

Saturday's game was the professional debut for defenseman Brandon Manning. The 21-year-old rookie missed the first two months of the season with injury. While with the Chilliwack Bruins in the WHL last year, Manning racked up impressive numbers especially for a blue-liners as he scored 21 goals and 53 points in 53 games.

Adirondack embarks on a long bus-ride up north for their finale of their three-game road-swing. The team will break up the trip into two parts and will arrive into Hamilton, Ontario on Sunday night as they ready for their Tuesday night game at the Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Phantoms' next home games are next Friday and Saturday vs. Portland and Rochester.

Upcoming Events

Monday, December 5 - No Phantoms Power Hour show. The team will be traveling.

Tuesday, December 6, 7:30 - Phantoms at Hamilton Bulldogs

Friday, December 9, 7:00 - Portland Pirates at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 draft beer specials through first intermission; Bud Light and Labatt Blue Light.

Saturday, December 10, 7:00 - Rochester Americans at Adirondack Phantoms. Phantoms T-Shirts for the first 2,500 fans courtesy of Papa John's. First Goal Teddy Bear Toss to benefit the Salvation Army and needy children in the North Country.

Phantoms Holiday Socks are on sale now. $49 package for 4 tickets to a premium Phantoms game, an autographed puck, a program, all in a game-worn Phantoms hockey sock. $59 for an autographed stick with the 4 premium game tickets and game-worn Phantoms hockey sock.

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.

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

Adirondack Phantoms 1 at Norfolk Admirals 2 - Status: Final
Saturday, December 3, 2011 - Norfolk Scope

Adirondack 0 1 0 - 1
Norfolk 0 0 2 - 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Sestito Adk (fighting), 3:52; Labrie Nor (fighting), 3:52; Eddy Adk (cross-checking), 12:35; Conacher Nor (high-sticking), 13:05; Cote Nor (high-sticking), 16:24; Manning Adk (interference), 17:38.

2nd Period-1, Adirondack, Akeson 7 (Eddy, Hamel), 5:01 (PP). Penalties-Neilson Nor (cross-checking), 3:20; Holmstrom Adk (hooking), 14:17; Lauridsen Adk (holding), 15:41.

3rd Period-2, Norfolk, Johnson 7 (Dimmen, Jackson), 12:46. 3, Norfolk, Johnson 8 (Ashton, Devos), 19:30. Penalties-Barberio Nor (interference), 4:12; Conacher Nor (hooking), 7:48; Gudas Nor (interference), 8:46; Lauridsen Adk (delay of game), 17:27; Manning Adk (fighting, misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Sestito Adk (misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Gudas Nor (misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Smith Nor (fighting, misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00; Tokarski Nor (leaving the crease, misconduct - continuing altercation), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 5-6-5-16. Norfolk 13-12-9-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 7; Norfolk 0 / 5.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 10-6-0 (34 shots-32 saves). Norfolk, Tokarski 9-5-0 (16 shots-15 saves).
Referees-Ryan Fraser (14).
Linesmen-Luke Murray (92), Bill Lyons (27).


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