He was only supposed to be here as an emergency
backup to be used exclusively in a "just
in case" scenario. But then the circumstances
played out exactly as required for ECHL callup
Brad Phillips to get thrown into the fire. He
responded with a 35 save show to propel the Phantoms
to a 4-3 final as he won his AHL debut Sunday
afternoon in Glens Falls over the Syracuse Crunch.
Jason Bacashihua got dinged with an upper-body
injury on Friday and Phillips was recalled on
Saturday from Trenton of the ECHL to serve as
Michael Leighton's backup. Then on Sunday morning,
Leighton would be the latest Phantom to be victimized
by the flu-bug making its way around the Adirondack
Enter Brad Phillips. The 22-year-old arrived at
the arena at 1:00 expecting to spend the day hanging
out on the backup goalie's stool in the player's
entrance and enjoying another day of Phantoms
hockey as a spectator. But he was told by coach
Joe Paterson that he would actually be playing
in the AHL for the first time in his career and,
next thing he knew, there he was leading the team
onto the ice for pregame warm-ups as is traditionally
done by the game's starting goalie.
While Phillips was making his Phantoms debut,
Adirondack squared off against a former Phantom
who got the start in the Syracuse cage. Antero
Nittymaki starred for the Philadelphia Phantoms
from 2002-05 and also minded goal for the Flyers
from 2006-09. But the more experienced of the
two starting goalies wouldn't even make it through
the first period as Adirondack would get to him
early and quickly.
Phillips, a second-year pro out of Notre Dame,
thrived in his chance in the Phantoms' limelight
to help steer Adirondack to their second straight
win and their third in their last four. Adirondack
also now has points in five of their last seven
Phillips saved the first 26 shots he faced in
preserving the 4-0 lead. And, on a couple of his
better stops, it was difficult to distinguish
him from the Phantoms regular experienced netminders.
His best save came in the second period as he
scooted quickly to his right to deny Brandon McMillan
on a wide-open opportunity. That one drew a large
ovation from the crowd who were appreciating and
enjoying the efforts and success of the newcomer.
Phillips was finally beaten by his former college
teammate at Notre Dame, AHL leading scorer Kyle
Palmieri, on a penalty shot late in the second.
His familiarity with the guys on the team probably
helped ease his comfort-level and nerves in his
debut at the higher level. He has been up with
the team as a backup earlier this season and was
also in Glens Falls during the preseason training
camp. Last year, he was teammates with Garrett
Klotz when both played in Bloomington, IL. Klotz
was one of the first players to get to Phillips
to offer congratulations after the game had finished.
Andrew Rowe scored a pair of goals to lead the
attack while Tye McGinn and Matt Ford also lit
The victory was the team's 17th on home-ice this
year, most in the American Hockey League. It also
pulled the Phantoms to within five points of the
Albany Devils for the eighth place spot that comes
with an invitation to the Calder Cup Playoffs
After the game, the players all gathered in Heritage
Hall inside the GFCC to meet with the fans for
a team autograph session on Poster Giveaway Day
presented by Glens Falls Printing.
At first, it looked like the Phantoms were going
to cruise to an easy victory in their third game
in three days. Adirondack raced out to a 3-0 lead
in the first period and pushed it to 4-0 in the
second. But Syracuse came to life and made it
a one-goal game with 65 seconds remaining. But
they ran out of time in their efforts to notch
the equalizer and Adirondack hung on for the win.
Andrew Rowe scored a pair of goals in the first
period to give Adirondack a 2-0 lead. His first
goal came after a hard Garrett Klotz forecheck
would force the puck free. Rowe centered it out
in front to Luke Pither whose shot was saved by
Nittymaki to the right-wing side. But Rowe had
come out in front following his centering pass
and the rebound was perfectly set up for him to
drive home his fourth of the year less than six
minutes in for a 1-0 lead.
At 13 minutes in, Rowe rifled a quick shot immediately
after a Pither face-off win for his second goal.
It was Pither's second assist of the game.
Rowe get a couple more chances to threaten for
his first pro hat trick including a jam opportunity
from behind the cage with about four minutes left
in the game. But Rowe was denied at the end and
would have to settle for his second multi-goal
game with Adirondack.
Three minutes after Rowe had made it 2-0, good
quick passing by Erik Gustafsson on the blue-line
and Jason Akeson in the right-circle would get
the Syracuse defenders moving. The crafty play-maker
Akeson saw the quick opening for Tye McGinn in
the slot who was able to one-time score his ninth
of the year on the blocker-side of Nittymaki.
It was Akeson's team-leading 32nd assist and 42nd
point. It was also the end of the game for Nittymaki
who made way for fellow Finland native Iiro Tarkki.
In the second period, Matt Ford would score from
the left circle on a power play shot that he blasted
through Tarkki for a 4-0 Phantoms lead. It was
Ford's sixth goal in ten games since joining the
Phantoms at the beginning of February and his
16th goal of the season overall. Denis Hamel and
Ben Holmstrom assisted on that tally.
Kyle Palmieri was hauled down from behind on a
breakaway and was able to convert on his penalty
shot late in the second period to finally break
Phillips' shutout bid on their 27th shot of the
game. Palmieri is the league's top goal-scorer
with 31 despite only having played in 37 games
in the AHL this season due to his several callups
to Anaheim. The Ducks first-rounder and highly
touted prospect had been teammates with Phillips
at Notre Dame in 2009-10.
Adirondack carried a 4-1 advantage into the third
period but J.F. Jacques would help get the Crunch
back into the game. He blocked a power play shot
and raced the length of the ice for a shorthanded
breakaway goal backhanding it over Phillips' glove
six minutes into the third to cut the score to
In the closing minutes, a deflected puck from
a Nate Guenin shot would find Jacques' stick again
and he would slam home the 6-on-5 goal from the
right-wing side of the crease to make it 4-3 and
cause concern inside the Civic Center. But there
was only 1:05 remaining when Jacques' goal closed
the gap to one. And after a hopping puck through
the slot bounced over the stick of Palmieri on
the backdoor with 12 seconds to go, Adirondack
was able to squeeze it along the wall for the
remaining ticks to close out the victory.
It is the second straight weekend in which Adirondack
has won two out of three. And the Phantoms improved
to 4-2 against the Crunch this year with still
four games remaining in the season-series between
the two New York rivals.
Marc-Andre Bourdon and Garrett Roe again missed
the game with the virus that has been hitting
the team somewhat hard and has now victimized
Adirondack now has a few days between games to
recover from the tough three-game weekend and
also try to shake the flu-bug. The Phantoms return
to action next Friday at Providence and next Saturday
at Albany in back-to-back road games against two
teams right in the thick of that eighth place
The Phantoms return home next Sunday at 3:00 against
the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Scooby Doo
will be at the arena to help celebrate Dax Kids
Club Day. And all fans are invited to a post-game
skate with the players presented by Glens Falls
Hospital. Sunday Family 3-Packs are again offered
for only $39 giving great value for the 3 ticket
package which also includes 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas,
one large popcorn and one program. Call the Phantoms
to order yours at (518) 480-3355.
Monday, February 27, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour
LIVE at McGinny's. Special Guests, Riley Cote
and Harry Zolnierczyk
Friday, March 2, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at
Saturday, March 3, 5:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Albany Devils
Sunday, March 4, 3:00 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Penguins at Adirondack Phantoms. Dax's Kids Club
game and post-game open-skate with the Phantoms
players. Sunday Family 3-Pack.
Ge your Adirondack O'Phantoms T-Shirts! Two tickets
for any game in March plus a St. Patrick's Day
O'Phantoms logo T-Shirt all for only $30.
The Northway 2-Pack is on sale now. Get 2 tickets
for 2 games between the Phantoms and the Albany
Devils on March 10 and April 6 PLUS a player autograph
stick all for only $65. Call the Phantoms to order
yours! (518) 480-3355
Syracuse Crunch 3 at Adirondack Phantoms 4 -
Sunday, February 26, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic
Syracuse 0 1 2 - 3
Adirondack 3 1 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Adirondack, Rowe 4 (Pither, Klotz),
5:28. 2, Adirondack, Rowe 5 (Pither), 12:41. 3,
Adirondack, McGinn 9 (Gustafsson, Akeson), 15:34.
Penalties-served by Harper Adk (bench minor -
too many men), 8:53; Caputi Syr (fighting), 16:52;
Eddy Adk (fighting), 16:52; Walker Adk (cross-checking),
2nd Period-4, Adirondack, Ford 16 (Holmstrom,
Hamel), 10:23 (PP). 5, Syracuse, Palmieri 31 18:20
(TXT_PS). Penalties-Eddy Adk (hooking), 5:58;
Palmieri Syr (holding), 10:06; Holzapfel Syr (hooking),
11:02; Walker Adk (double minor - high-sticking),
3rd Period-6, Syracuse, Jacques 16 6:26 (SH).
7, Syracuse, Jacques 17 (Guenin, Holland), 18:55.
Penalties-Tarkki Syr (tripping), 5:27.
Shots on Goal-Syracuse 12-16-10-38. Adirondack
Power Play Opportunities-Syracuse 0 / 5; Adirondack
1 / 3.
Goalies-Syracuse, Niittymaki 4-6-0 (13 shots-10
saves); Tarkki 11-15-4 (21 shots-20 saves). Adirondack,
Phillips 1-0-0 (38 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Ragusin (54), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Jim Harper (59), Mike Emanatian (69).