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53 Shot Attack in Phantoms Setback

January 27, 2011

The way the Phantoms were playing, especially in the first period, one would have easily thought the Phantoms would be the team to pull away with a big victory. 25 shots on goal in the first and 53 shots in the game for an offense that was really clicking and seemed in good shape. But Bridgeport was able to notch some key goals on their counter-attacks while Kevin Poulin made 51 saves on his end allowing the visiting Sound Tigers to come out with a surprising 6-2 decision.

Tom Sestito (9th) and Harry Zolnierczyk (6th) scored the goals for Adirondack. For "Harry Z", it was his first game at the Glens Falls Civic Center since October 29 after playing his last 34 games with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Phantoms equaled the most shots in a period of any AHL team this year with their 25 blasts in the opening period. Portland also had a 25 shot period in November. And their 53 shots in the game were the second most in the AHL this season only to Wilkes-Barre's 54 shot attack in November. But the young Bridgeport goaltender, Poulin, was very good and occasionally tremendous in thwarting the constant rushes of the Adirondack Phantoms and earning #1 Star of the Game honors.

The Sound Tigers continued their incredible turnaround and extended their point-streak to 10 games since the beginning of the new year. Bridgeport is the hottest team in the league at 9-0-1 in January after a dismal 2-10 record in December and they have gone from worst to first in the Northeast Division. Connecticut lost in overtime to Wilkes-Barre to extend their equally surprising losing streak to 10 games at 0-5-5 thus allowing Bridgeport to move into a first-place tie with the Whale in the tight Northeast Division race.

The Phantoms, in the meanwhile, stayed tied for third in the division with Albany who lost and they remain within close striking distance of the two teams at the top. Adirondack with 44 points at 21-20-2 trails the division leading Sound Tigers and Whale by only three points.

Poulin almost seemed to have some extra limbs on some of his miraculous saves of the 24 total stops in the opening frame. Tom Sestito took a Mike Testwuide pass on a quick rush into the zone and quickly moved it to his backhand for a superior angle on Poulin to give the Phantoms the 1-0 lead late in the first period.

It felt like the Phantoms were ready to bust the game open at that point as they kept coming and coming at the Bridgeport net. But the Sound Tigers were able to keep it close and then eventually countered with 1:07 left in the first period when an Aaron Ness shot would be neatly redirected over the right shoulder of Michael Leighton by Justin DiBenedetto to tie the score at 1-1.

Bridgeport's adjustments in the first period appeared to make the difference while Adirondack got called for a couple key penalties early in the second including a tripping call against Zolnierczyk which the Phantoms took issue with. The Sound Tigers scored back-to-back power play goals on strikes by Jeremy Colliton and Jon Landry in opening up a 3-1 advantage less than five minutes into the period.

The score would remain 3-1 for the rest of the second period and the continually escalating chippiness and nastiness would come to a boil at the final buzzer with Ben Holmstrom dropping the gloves with Kael Mouillierat of Bridgeport with Michael Haley of the Sound Tigers jumping in as a third man and taking a penalty.

Everything seemed all lined up for the Phantoms' to begin their comeback with the full power play to begin the third as they hoped to cut into the Sound Tigers' 3-1 lead. But it would be rookie Casey Cizikas poking away a puck at the Adirondack line springing Trevor Frischmon on a quick shorthanded breakaway which he would convert to stun the Phantoms and the crowd.

Harry Zolnierczyk quickly got it back right after the power play had ended on a nice give across the slot by Mike Testwuide and just two minutes into the third, it was a two goal game again at 4-2.

But another breakaway, this one from Tyler McNeely, would allow the Sound Tigers to open a 5-2 lead at the six minute mark of the third. And Casey Cizikas would poke in a rebound a few minutes later for the last score of the night.

Michael Leighton went the distance for the Phantoms in a gutty performance on the tough night in what could be his last game before heading to Atlantic City for the AHL All-Star Classic on Monday.

Bridgeport took a three games to two lead in the season series with the win. Adirondack dominated the shots on goal department 53-35 and have now outshot their opponents in nine of the last ten games.

Bridgeport went 3-for-7 on the power play while the Phantoms were 1-for-3. Bridgeport and Adirondack meet one more time in 2011-12, in Bridgeport at Webster Bank Arena on February 18.

Scratches for the Phantoms included Garrett Klotz, Matt Walker and Cullen Eddy.

The Phantoms have one more game before the All-Star Break. Adirondack travels to Albany for a Saturday game at 5:00 against the Devils in the continuation of the Time Warner Cable Cup rivalry. The Phantoms lead their Northway rivals three games to two thus far in the season series but are seeking their first win in the Times Union Center.

Adirondack's next home games are next Friday and Saturday against Norfolk and Providence back-to-back. The Saturday, February 4 game vs. the Providence Bruins is Jimmer Fredette bobblehead night for the first 3,000 fans.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, January 28, 5:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at Albany Devils

Monday, January 30 - No Phantoms Power Hour Show. All-Star Break

Monday, January 30, 7:00 - AHL All-Star Classic from Atlantic City. On NHL Network and LookTV-8 in Glens Falls.

Friday, February 3, 7:00 - Norfolk Admirals at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 draft beers.

Saturday, February 4, 7:00 - Providence Bruins at Adirondack Phantoms. Jimmer Fredette Bobbleheads (first 3,000 fans)

Get great savings with the Phantoms when you bring your group of 15 friends or co-workers to a game. Group-rates available as low as $13 per person. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355.

Check out the Half-Price Discount Outlet at phantomshockey.com for great savings from some of our awesome Phantoms corporate partners. Get half-off cards to local restaurants and other stores!

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.. Be sure to follow the Phantoms on twitter @phantomshockey and on facebook.com/adkhockey

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 6 at Adirondack Phantoms 2 - Status: Final
Friday, January 27, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic Center

Bridgeport 1 2 3 - 6
Adirondack 1 0 1 - 2

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Sestito 9 (Akeson, Holmstrom), 14:34 (PP). 2, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 10 (Ness, Oleksy), 18:53. Penalties-Howes Bri (hooking), 5:09; Akeson Adk (tripping), 6:14; Roe Adk (hooking), 11:39; Colliton Bri (hooking), 12:17; Wishart Bri (slashing), 13:33; Landry Bri (cross-checking), 15:06.

2nd Period-3, Bridgeport, Colliton 8 (Rakhshani, Cizikas), 1:24 (PP). 4, Bridgeport, Landry 1 (Wishart, DiBenedetto), 4:53 (PP). Penalties-Testwuide Adk (goaltender interference), 0:47; Zolnierczyk Adk (tripping), 3:58; Oleksy Bri (roughing), 13:29; Haley Bri (roughing), 20:00; Mouillierat Bri (fighting), 20:00; Holmstrom Adk (fighting), 20:00.

3rd Period-5, Bridgeport, Frischmon 5 (Cizikas), 1:02 (SH). 6, Adirondack, Zolnierczyk 6 (Testwuide, Wellwood), 2:11. 7, Bridgeport, McNeely 5 6:08. 8, Bridgeport, Cizikas 13 (Oleksy), 12:54. Penalties-Akeson Adk (roughing), 13:52; Howes Bri (fighting), 15:33; Manning Adk (fighting), 15:33; Rakhshani Bri (tripping), 17:25.

Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 12-11-13-36. Adirondack 25-12-16-53.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 2 / 5; Adirondack 1 / 7.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Poulin 12-12-1 (53 shots-51 saves). Adirondack, Leighton 14-16-0 (36 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Mike Emanatian (69), Frank Murphy (29).




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