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Hamel Scores 20th for 10th Season

March 17, 2012

Denis Hamel made it an amazing 10 seasons with 20 or more goals, but the Adirondack Phantoms lost a hard-fought game at the Syracuse Crunch 5-2 on St. Patrick's Day. Adirondack trailed only 3-2 with a minute remaining but Syracuse scored a pair of goals in the closing seconds to seal the win and make the final score look unlike the true closeness of the Saturday evening battle.

Marc-Andre Bourdon returned to the Phantoms lineup for the first time since November and scored his first AHL goal of the year after scoring a couple of tallies with Philadelphia earlier.

The setback moves the Phantoms three points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 12 games remaining in the regular season.

Hamel passed Adirondack Red Wing great Glenn Merkosky earlier this season for 12th all-time in AHL history in goals scored. More recently, both were honored with a fine ovation in a nice puck-dropping ceremony at the GFCC. This one was Hamel's 335th career goal to solidify his hold on 11th all-time in the AHL and second among active players trailing only Alexandre Giroux of Springfield. Hamel has said he will consider playing another season, possibly for the Phantoms, but will not think about that until the 2011-12 season is complete.

J.F. Jacques led the way for the Crunch with a pair of goals. He has 19 goals on the season, eight of which have come against the Phantoms.

The Phantoms appeared to be on the verge of recording the tying goal on several occasions in the third period. But a couple of penalties in the closing minutes that were disputed by the Phantoms put the clamps on Adirondack's comeback efforts somewhat.

Adirondack snapped out of their recent power play struggles with a 2-for-4 performance.

Denis Hamel tipped-in a long slapper by Blake Kessel for a power play goal in the first period to give Adirondack a 1-0 lead.

J.F. Jacques was able to rush in for a rebound of a Patrick Maroon shot off the pads of Leighton to tie the score at 1-1 at the first intermission.

Adirondack mostly had the better of the play in the first and outshot the Crunch 15-10 in an opening 20 minutes that saw good action, pace and transition back and forth on the War Memorial Arena ice.

Syracuse came out firing in the second period as they outshot the Phantoms 16-7. They took the lead early in the period on a 5-on-3 goal following a bad-break on an accidental clear over the glass from the defensive zone by Bourdon. Mathieu Carle blased home a one-timer from the top of the left circle for the 2-1 lead.

Adirondack would comeback to tie the score again late in the second period on a nice drop by Shane Harper in the left-wing circle to Bourdon hustling up to the dot to snap home his first of the year.

The 2-2 tie only lasted a couple of minutes. Jacques scored again with 34 seconds left in the second period for the 3-2 Syracuse lead.

The Phantoms had several intercepts in the Syracuse zone in the third period and kept good puck possession while the Crunch appeared to be barely hanging on.

But when Bourdon gave a tap back after getting hit behind the Phantoms' goal he was called for a slashing penalty late in the one-goal game to give Syracuse a key power play. The Phantoms were able to kill that off and keep momentum going back at the Syracuse end.

Hamel was in the slot with over two minutes left when he made contact with the goalie, possibly shoved into him by a Crunch defenseman, and was called for interference. Hamel vehemently protested the crucial call that put the Phantoms down a man with 2:19 remaining in their comeback efforts but the decision stood.

Syracuse rushed out of the zone to score an empty-netter with 45 seconds left and Mike Testwuide was called for a tripping penalty while the goal was scored but still was forced to serve the penalty. Syracuse added another goal with 11 seconds left to close out the win.

The final two goals Syracuse scored were on the power play giving them a 3-for-7 night in the end while Adirondack was 2-for-4. The Crunch had 35 shots to Adirondack's 34.

The Phantoms were without Brandon Manning who was on his way to Philadelphia to join the Flyers on his second NHL call-up. Other scratches included Andrew Rowe, Luke Pither, Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis.

The Phantoms are off for a week before returning to action next Friday night with the finale of the three-game road-trip at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against the Penguins.

Adirondack's next home games are Saturday, March 24 against Springfield on Star Wars Night followed by a Sunday, March 25 matchup with Binghamton on Dax's first birthday celebration. For tickets, call the Phantoms at (518) 480-3355.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 19, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE from McGinny's. Scheduled players guests Jason Akeson and Shane Harper.

Friday, March 23, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Saturday, March 24, 7:00 - Springfield Falcons at Adirondack Phantoms. Star Wars Night with Darth Vader and Boba Fett! Guns 'N Hoses Charity Game at 3:00 to benefit NY Special Olympics.

Sunday, March 25, 3:00 - Binghamton Senators at Adirondack Phantoms. Dax's Birthday Party and Mascot Mania!! Post-game skate with the Phantoms players presented by Glens Falls Hospital.

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.

Get 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 Sunday Family 3-Pack is available for ALL Sunday home games! Get 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 large popcorn and 1 program all for only $39. That's a savings of $26!

Follow the Phantoms at facebook.com/ADKhockey and on twitter @phantomshockey

Adirondack Phantoms 2 at Syracuse Crunch 5 - Status: Final
Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter

Adirondack 1 1 0 - 2
Syracuse 1 2 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Hamel 20 (Kessel, Akeson), 12:00 (PP). 2, Syracuse, Jacques 18 (Maroon, Holland), 15:07. Penalties-Zimmerman Syr (roughing), 3:34; Brittain Syr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:43.

2nd Period-3, Syracuse, Carle 6 (Cumiskey, Maroon), 2:52 (PP). 4, Adirondack, Bourdon 1 (Harper, Roe), 16:50 (PP). 5, Syracuse, Jacques 19 (Holland, Smaby), 19:26. Penalties-Cumiskey Syr (delay of game), 0:09; Ford Adk (interference), 1:13; Bourdon Adk (delay of game), 2:26; Zolnierczyk Adk (fighting), 5:04; Bodie Syr (fighting), 5:04; Holmstrom Adk (elbowing), 9:19; Schaus Syr (interference), 14:59.

3rd Period-6, Syracuse, Holzapfel 13 (Cumiskey, McMillan), 19:15 (PP EN). 7, Syracuse, Bodie 4 (McMillan), 19:49 (PP). Penalties-Ford Adk (tripping), 4:46; Bourdon Adk (slashing), 11:02; Hamel Adk (goaltender interference), 17:41; Testwuide Adk (tripping), 19:15.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 15-7-13-35. Syracuse 10-16-9-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 4; Syracuse 3 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 21-23-0 (34 shots-30 saves). Syracuse, Tarkki 18-15-4 (35 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Brett Montsion (80).
Linesmen-Jeff Walker (28), Andy Petrus (26).



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