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Built Ford Tough! Phantoms win 5-2

February 19, 2012

Matt Ford continued his quick success since joining the Phantoms as he notched two more goals leading Adirondack to a 5-2 victory at the Manchester Monarchs Sunday afternoon. Suffice to say, the Monarchs are sick of seeing Ford AND the Phantoms! Ford had four goals against Manchester in the Friday and Sunday games as the Phantoms won consecutive 5-1 and 5-2 decisions over the Monarchs in less than 48 hours.

Ford was acquired by the Flyers organization a couple of weeks ago in the trade for Kevin Marshall with the Washington Capitals organization. Ford came to Adirondack from the Hershey Bears. The 27-year-old Ford now has five goals in his seven games since joining the Phantoms including two tallies in an emotional Friday contest shortly after he had returned to the team from a personal-bereavement leave following the passing of his father-in-law.

The West Hills, California native had 10 goals this season with Hershey prior to the trade but already has tallied five for the Phantoms. He has proven in previous seasons that he knows how to score. Ford had a career-high 26 goals last year with Lake Erie of the AHL where he was teammates with Adirondack goalie Jason Bacashihua.

Jason Akeson had a career high four points, all assists, as he set up each of the first four Phantoms goals. Shane Harper extended his goal-scoring streak to three games in a row. And the all-rookie line of Akeson with Tye McGinn and Tyler Brown would all team up for the first two goals of the game.

Akeson now has 31 assists to tie for the league lead among rookies. And the 21-year-old rookie from Kitchener, Ontario paces the Phantoms with 41 total points. Akeson is comfortable in a league-leading scoring position. He was tops in the Ontario Hockey League last year in points (108) and assists (84).

It was the culmination of a busy but successful week for the Phantoms who played four games in six days and notched points in three of those four. Adirondack won two out of three in their tight three-in-three weekend that had them playing three games in less than 48 hours with a couple of bus rides to visiting opponents in-between.

Special teams helped carry the day for Adirondack as they racked up a season-high three power play goals, accomplishing the feat for only the second time this season and the first since October. And the Phantoms penalty-kill had to come up large as well and were able to rise to the challenge and limit the Monarchs to 1-for-7.

Similar to Friday night's game in Glens Falls, the two teams would drop the gloves a few more times in some more fights to finish off what they had started in the intense weekend series. Garrett Klotz would drop the gloves a couple of times with Justin Johnson while Cullen Eddy would go with Marc-Andre Cliche and then later get jumped by Johnson without a chance to get set.

Michael Leighton would save 31 of 33 shots faced for the win.

The Phantoms struck first with 5:00 remaining in the opening period when Tyler Brown would carry the puck in deep, get it to Akeson, and then find Tye McGinn in front to notch his eighth of the year.

Later in the first period, Brandon Manning would hustle back into the crease after Manchester drew Leighton out of the crease and passed it out in front. Manning would make a fine stick save on the Monarchs shot to keep the Phantoms in front.

The three rookies would again team up for the second goal, and it would be Tyler Brown to deposit home the rebound for his 7th of the year.

Late in the second period, Jason Akeson rushed into the Manchester zone on the power play and split the defense almost moving in on goalie Jeff Zatkoff all alone. He was bumped down on his way in but while still driving in hard but sliding on his side was able to maintain some control of the puck and somehow got off a backhanded lifting it upstairs and off the cross-bar. The rebound came out to the left-circle where Ford was able to fire home his first of the day to give the Phantoms a 3-0 lead.

The Monarchs went on a power play of their own and Brandon Kozun scored his second goal of the weekend against the Phantoms to cut the gap to 3-1. Adirondack had to kill off another hard Manchester power play push at the end of the second period to get back to the locker room still in front by the two-goal margin.

Matt Ford would strike again early in the third period for his second of the game, fourth of the weekend, and 15th of the season. The fourth assist of the game for Jason Akeson set up Denis Hamel whose shot was partly blocked but trickled into the left-side of the slot where Ford would scoop it up and slide it past Manchester goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

On the next Adirondack power play a minute later, Manchester would look to take a chance and seized the opportunity when they rushed out with a 3-on-2 shorthanded break capitalized by Linden Vey to cut the Phantoms' lead to 4-2.

After that, Manchester came perilously close to making it a one-goal game include a flurry on a power-ply in which they blasted back-to-back shots off the posts just two seconds apart.

Adirondack survived the desperate push of the Monarchs and would later get more power-play time of their own. Shane Harper would grab a rebound of a Harry Zolnierczyk shot in tight and notch the team's second 5-on-3 goal of the weekend to provide for the 5-2 final.

The 22-year-old from Valencia, California, Harper has now scored in three straight games and has nine of the year. Harper only had one goal in 20 games last year with the Phantoms but he lit it up in his time in the ECHL with Greenville (SC) where he scored 23 goals in 45 games.

Defenseman Andy Thomas, up with the team again from Trenton on another Professional Tryout, received a great thrill as he got to play in his home state for the first time in his pro career. The Bow, New Hampshire native had 30 friends and family on hand at the arena just a half-hour from his home to cheer him on.

The Phantoms improved to 24-25-3 and now have 24 games remaining in the regular season as they make their push for a top eight spot in the Eastern Conference standings and a Calder Cup Playoff position in April.

Adirondack finished the season series with a 3-1-0 record against Manchester.

The Phantoms are in the middle of a tough stretch of nine out of 11 games on the road. Adirondack has gone 2-2-1 so far in this important part of the late-season schedule.

Prior to the game, it was announced that Marc-Andre Bourdon was returning to the Adirondack Phantoms from the Philadelphia Flyers. Bourdon could not make it to Manchester in time for the game but will meet the team in Glens Falls this week. Bourdon made the most of his first ever NHL callup. The Flyers brought him up to the NHL in November and Bourdon stuck with the team for three months and excelled in his 39 games including scoring his first two ever NHL goals an acquiring a +1 rating.

After returning to Glens Falls for a few practices this week, Adirondack will continue their four-game road trip on Friday and Saturday nights at Rochester and Binghamton.

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

Monday, February 20, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE from McGinny's. With player guests 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 5 at Manchester Monarchs 2 - Status: Unofficial Final
Sunday, February 19, 2012 - Verizon Wireless Arena

Adirondack 1 2 2 - 5
Manchester 0 1 1 - 2

1st Period-1, Adirondack, McGinn 8 (Akeson, Brown), 14:56.
Penalties-Klotz Adk (fighting), 2:30; Johnson Mch (fighting), 2:30;
Hickey Mch (holding), 6:43; Klotz Adk (fighting), 12:30; Johnson Mch
(fighting), 12:30; Kaunisto Mch (slashing), 19:02.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Brown 7 (Akeson, McGinn), 7:04. 3,
Adirondack, Ford 14 (Holmstrom, Akeson), 14:00 (PP). 4, Manchester,
Kozun 15 (Vey, Kolomatis), 17:35 (PP). Penalties-Akeson Adk
(slashing), 0:14; Gustafsson Adk (holding), 8:51; Eddy Adk (fighting),
10:53; Cliche Mch (fighting), 10:53; Kaunisto Mch (slashing), 12:53;
Eddy Adk (holding), 17:08; Akeson Adk (high-sticking), 17:56.

3rd Period-5, Adirondack, Ford 15 (Hamel, Akeson), 3:39 (PP). 6,
Manchester, Vey 14 (Kaunisto, Voynov), 4:43 (SH). 7, Adirondack,
Harper 9 (Zolnierczyk, Eddy), 12:59 (PP). Penalties-Kozun Mch
(interference), 1:11; Johnson Mch (roughing, misconduct - abuse of
officials), 3:19; Johnson Mch (roughing), 3:29; Gustafsson Adk
(unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:18; Manning Adk (boarding), 8:23;
Holmstrom Adk (roughing), 9:00; Muzzin Mch (roughing), 9:00; Campbell
Mch (interference), 11:10; Cliche Mch (high-sticking), 11:34; Klotz
Adk (roughing), 15:24.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 8-8-12-28. Manchester 5-13-15-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 3 / 8; Manchester 1 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 15-19-0 (33 shots-31 saves). Manchester,
Zatkoff 15-11-1 (28 shots-23 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (44), Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Jeremy Lovett (78), Chris Aughe (74).



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