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Tight Battle in Bridgeport

February 18, 2012


The Phantoms looked to be in good shape to pick up a valuable road victory at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers when they took an early 2-0 lead. But David Ullstrom would score a pair of goals in the second and third periods to push Bridgeport to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in the Saturday night game in southern Connecticut.

The surging Sound Tigers improved to an impressive 14-1-1 since January 1 to remain the hottest team ni the AHL. The Phantoms hung right there with the group that has quickly emerged as one of the best in the league but after falling behind by a goal were simply unable to get the equalizer despite several close calls.

For the Phantoms, it's not like they make a habit of losing early leads. They carried a record of 13-1-1 in games in which they hold the lead at the first intermission. And in this one, they led by two. But Bridgeport played their usual aggressive game and generated 20 shots on goal against Jason Bacashihua in the second period while taking advantage of their power play opportunities.

Harry Zolnierczyk gave the Phantoms the initial advantage on a backhander apparently with eyes from the left circle. Somehow the low drive towards the net found its way through several different legs and at the end of all that traffic, Bridgeport goalie Anders Nilsson would not be able to locate it. "Harry Z" notched his seventh of the season with the Phantoms and the first since returning from Philadelphia last week.

Three minutes later on the power play, Shane Harper would accept a feed from Zolnierczyk at the top of the crease and carry it around the Bridgeport goalie Nilsson's left-skate to tuck in his eighth of the year with just 17 seconds remaining in the opening period. Harper has scored in each of the last two games and the goal was his eighth of the season.

And Adirondack was feeling good about their chances with a 2-0 advantage in he first 20 minutes.

Then the second period got going and an inspired Bridgeport team picked up the pace and the urgency. Blasting away on Jason Bacashihua who made a number of fine saves, the Sound Tigers were finally able to get on the board on an intercept in the Adirondack zone with rookie Casey Cizikas depositing his 15th of the year.

Jason Akeson inadvertently got his stick up high on a Bridgeport player and was tagged with a double-minor for high-sticking allowing the Sound Tigers to continually penetrate in the Adirondack end. David Ullstrom's big one-timer from the lower right-circle would go off the stick of Bacashihua but still get through to tie the game at 2-2.

Early in the third, Bridgeport would get another power play and Ullstrom again would show off his big shot. This time he blasted it off the far post from the top of the right circle just past the right skate of Bacashihua.

The Phantoms goalie played well in making 28 saves on 31 shots including a couple of borderline miraculous saves to keep the Phantoms within striking distance. On one stop, he had left the crease when Bridgeport had a 3-on-1 that turned into a 2-on-0 with almost no goalie as well. The pass was centered out in front but somehow Bacashihua was able to dive from out of nowhere and deflect the puck away from the seemingly open net.

Late in the game, with Bacashihua pulled, Casey Cizikas tried to ice the game rushing up the right-wing. But Erik Gustafsson, returning for his first game with the Phantoms since early January, would stay with him to force a hurried shot that would ring off the inside of the near post and somehow stay out.

Later on, Jeremy Colliton would flip a puck high in the air over everyone's heads and bouncing towards the open net. Gustafsson hustled back and made a spectacular diving effort to knock the puck away just inches from the goal-line in a play eerily reminiscent of Jason Akeson's similar hustle-save on February 4 against Providence.

The great stops get Adirondack in the game and gave them more chances. But in the end, they were simply unable to obtain the equalizer and the Sound Tigers persevered for the 3-2 decision.

Scratches for the Phantoms included Blake Kessel, Mike Testwuide, Matt Walker, Oskars Bartulis, Tyler Hostetter and Jon Kalinski.

The Phantoms would receive some help on the scoreboard as most of the teams directly ahead of them lost while Bridgeport moved into sole possession of seventh place. Worcester now alone in eighth place was one of those losing teams and their standing at 55 points gives them only a six point margin over Adirondack who are trying to chase them down for the last playoff spot. The Phantoms still have two games remaining with the Sharks.

A bus-trip of over 50 Phantoms fans was in attendance at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport to make some noise for Adirondack and try to bring the team's lopsided home-ice advantage on the road. The fans will stay in a hotel in the area and come travel to watch the team play again Sunday afternoon.

The game was the opener of a four-game road-swing for the Phantoms who are also in the midst of playing 9 of 11 on the road. The three-in-three weekend concludes tomorrow with a rematch encounter with the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday at 3:00 in New Hampshire. The Phantoms humbled Manchester 5-1 in Glens Falls on Friday night in a game that featured lots of big hitting and several fights, so the encore encounter less than 48 hours later will be likely to entertain again in the last chance of the year for these two teams to get after each other.

The Phantoms' next home game is next Sunday, February 26 against the Syracuse Crunch. Phantoms team posters will be given away to the first 3,000 fans courtesy of Glens Falls Printing and a post-game autograph session will follow the contest. Fans can take advantage of the great value of the Sunday Family 3-Pack featuring 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 hot dog and 1 program all for only $39. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, February 19, 3:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at Manchester Monarchs

Monday, February 20, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE from McGinny's. Jason Bacashihua and Harry Zolnierczyk.

Friday, February 24, 7:30 - Adirondack Phantoms at Rochester Americans

Saturday, February 25, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at Binghamton Senators

Sunday, February 26, 3:00 - Syracuse Crunch at Adirondack Phantoms. Phantoms Poster Giveaway for first 3,000 fans courtesy of Glens Falls Printing. Post-Game Autograph Session with the Phantoms players. Sunday Family 3-Pack ($39 for 3 tickets, 3 sodas, 3 hot dogs, 1 large popcorn and 1 program).

The Phantoms Northway 2-Pack is on sale now! Get 2 tickets to each of the the Phantoms' upcoming rivalry games vs. Albany on March 10 and April 6 PLUS a player autographed stick. The cost of the whole package is only $65.

Adirondack O'Phantoms T-Shirts are available now! Get two tickets to any Phantoms game in March PLUS a St. Patrick's Day themed green t-shirt with an O'Phantoms logo all for only $30. Call the Phantoms to order yours at 518-480-3355.


Adirondack Phantoms 2 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3 - Status: Unofficial Final
Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Webster Bank Arena

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

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Zolnierczyk 7 (Roe, Jancevski), 16:13. 2, Adirondack, Harper 8 (Zolnierczyk, Roe), 19:43 (PP). Penalties-McGinn Adk (fighting), 17:58; Haley Bri (fighting), 17:58; Mouillierat Bri (boarding), 17:58.

2nd Period-3, Bridgeport, Cizikas 15 (Rakhshani), 8:05. 4, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 17 (Landry), 16:55 (PP). Penalties-Akeson Adk (clipping), 3:13; Landry Bri (holding the stick), 4:59; Akeson Adk (double minor - high-sticking), 14:17.

3rd Period-5, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 18 (Donovan, Landry), 1:20 (PP). Penalties-Manning Adk (hooking), 0:59.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 10-9-9-28. Bridgeport 6-20-5-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 2; Bridgeport 2 / 4.
Goalies-Adirondack, Bacashihua 8-7-1 (31 shots-28 saves). Bridgeport, Nilsson 11-6-1 (28 shots-26 saves).
A-3,460
Referees-Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Luke Galvin (2).



 




 
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