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
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
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.
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
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),
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 10-9-9-28. Bridgeport
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
Referees-Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Kevin Redding (16), Luke Galvin (2).