An inspired Adirondack Phantoms attack raced out
to a 5-1 lead on Sunday afternoon and held on
for a 5-4 victory over the Binghamton Senators
to complete a perfect weekend in which the team
won all three games they played in as many days.
The big win at the Glens Falls Civic Center pulls
the Phantoms to within two points of eighth-place
Syracuse for the last playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference heading into an exciting showdown series
with the Crunch on Wednesday and Friday.
Matt Ford and Denis Hamel led the attack for the
Phantoms with two goals apiece and Harry Zolnierczyk
also scored in the weekend capper. Garrett Roe
had a three assist afternoon for the Phantoms.
For Ford, they were his 13th and 14 goals with
Adirondack in just 23 games since joining the
team on February 3rd from the Hershey Bears in
a trade for Kevin Marshall. He has 24 goals total
on the season including his 10 goals with Hershey
prior to the trade. He had three goals on the
weekend, has five goals in his last seven games,
and eight goals in his last 11.
Hamel picked up his 21st and 22nd goals of the
season against the team for whom he starred for
six seasons and served as captain. He increased
his career total to 337, 11th all-time in AHL
history. He's also heating up at just the right
time. The team-leader in goals has scored six
in his last nine games.
Beginning the weekend, Adirondack had 63 points
and were in a 13th/14th place tie in the Eastern
Conference but still only five points out of eighth
place. With the three consecutive wins, the Phantoms
leapfrogged past several of the teams lodged between
them and a playoff position to move into 9th place,
and just two points out of 8th.
Entering play on Sunday, the Phantoms found themselves
in a crazy five-way for 10th at 67 points but
the important result in the weekend finale helped
break them out of that pack while also vaulting
them over Springfield who had been hanging on
just ahead of the group but lost in their Sunday
game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Adirondack improved to 33-31-3 and 69 points and
upped their home record to 20-12-1.
Binghamton struck first about six minutes into
the game to take a 1-0 lead when Patrick Weircoch
had a shot that was tipped en route by Mark Parrish.
The lead lasted for three minutes before a long
rebound of a Jason Akeson power play slapper would
rebound out to Harry Zolnierczyk after a try by
Garrett Roe. Zolnierczyk rifled it home from the
left circle for his eighth of the season with
the Phantoms and his 11th overall including his
three goals this year with Philadelphia.
The Phantoms then broke the game open in the second
period with a three goal surge while dominating
Matt Ford snapped in a rebound of a Brandon Manning
slapshot that handcuffed losing goalie Robin Lehner
and bounced well out into the slot to give the
Phantoms a 2-1 lead.
Then Denis Hamel would poke away a Binghamton
pass in the neutral-zone and Ford would smoothly
lead Hamel into the zone for a partial breakaway.
Hamel deked out Lehner by faking his big slapper
from the left circle. After getting the goalie
to flinch, Hamel smoothly skated wide of Lehner
and easily glided in the sharp-angle shot from
behind the goalie for the impressive score to
give Adirondack the 3-1 lead.
A few minutes later, it would be an Oliver Lauridsen
slapshot that would cause difficulty for Lehner,
and Hamel was there on the right-wing side of
the crease to lift it over the left leg of the
scrambling goalie for a 4-1 advantage.
Adirondack dominated play in the second period
in outscoring the visitors 3-0 and outshooting
them 17-9. A shell-shocked Robin Lehner would
be replaced in net by Mike McKenna for the third
period who has seen his share of success against
the Phantoms this season.
In the meanwhile, Binghamton was getting a whole
lot of nothing at Michael Leighton. The Senators
were outshot 10-0 in the opening 13 minutes of
the second period.
But Michael Leighton quickly had to get on his
game as he would get tested with a handful of
quality scoring tries for the Senators. A redirected
puck late in the second period would be plucked
out of the air by Leighton's glove as he recovered
to his left after initially moving to his right.
He also made a terrific kick-save with his left
leg on a breakaway in which the Senators perhaps
thought they had pushed it in. The referee skated
in close to check and indeed was able to see that
the puck had not crossed the goal-line and Leighton
had made the big stop.
Binghamton had a third-period power play opportunity
to try to climb back into the game but Matt Ford
would lift the puck high in the air to clear the
zone and then race to the Binghamton side where
a Senators player had trouble controlling it.
Ford stripped it away, skated in on McKenna on
the breakaway, and quickly moved across the crease
from left to right to score a nice shorthanded
goal stretching the lead to 5-1 with what proved
to be an important goal.
Then the Senators would make things a bit more
interesting than Adirondack would have preferred
but ultimately it was still too late for Binghamton.
Andre Petersson scored his team-leading 23rd of
the year from the right circle to make it 5-2
with less than 10 minutes remaining. Then a Patrick
Weircoch shot would deflect off an Adirondack
defender and somehow go over the shoulder of Leighton
with 3:30 left to cut the score to 5-3. The Senators
scored again with 23 seconds remaining on a Mike
Hoffman goal, his second of the game, that also
appeared to change direction on its way in. But
that would be all for Binghamton, and the Phantoms
would hang on for the 5-4 final.
Shots on goal in the last game of the season series
between the two teams were even at 37-37 after
Binghamton increased the urgency after falling
behind 5-1 in the third. Adirondack was 1-for-1
on the power play while the Senators were 1-for-4.
Scratches for the game included Blake Kessel,
Garrett Klotz, Tye McGinn and Luke Pither.
The Phantoms have gone 9-5-0 in their last 14
games and also 11-7-0 in their last 18 games.
Adirondack has just nine games remaining in the
regular season heading into their significant
Syracuse showdown series this week.
The Phantoms travel to Syracuse for a 7:00pm engagement
and then the series reverts to Glens Falls on
Friday night. a Phantoms sweep of the head-to-head
encounters would automatically push them into
one of the top eight positions in the conference...no
scoreboard watching necessary.
Dax celebrated his first birthday in style with
several mascot friends visiting Glens Falls for
the game. They all piled out of a limo at center-ice
between periods to take on a youth hockey team
in a fun-filled affair. Some Phantoms players
returned to the ice following the win for a post-game
skate with the fans presented by Glens Falls Hospital.
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Syracuse Crunch
Friday. March 30, 7:00 - Syracuse Crunch at Adirondack
Phantoms. $2 draft-beer specials. Playoff-Push
Saturday, March 31, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Connecticut Whale.
Friday, April 6, 7:00 - Albany Devils at Adirondack
Phantoms. Time Warner Cable Cup game.
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.
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!
Get Phantoms tickets and a Pizza! 4 tickets to
a Phantoms game on April 6 or April 14 PLUS a
$10 gift-certificate to Papa John's all for only
$49. Call the Phantoms to order yours.
Follow the Phantoms at facebook.com/ADKhockey
and on twitter @phantomshockey
Binghamton Senators 4 at Adirondack Phantoms
5 - Status: Final
Sunday, March 25, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic Center
Binghamton 1 0 3 - 4
Adirondack 1 3 1 - 5
1st Period-1, Binghamton, Parrish 15 (Wiercioch,
Borowiecki), 5:47. 2, Adirondack, Zolnierczyk
8 (Roe, Akeson), 8:46 (PP). Penalties-Dziurzynski
Bng (interference), 7:49.
2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Ford 23 (Manning, Roe),
6:28. 4, Adirondack, Hamel 21 (Ford), 11:11. 5,
Adirondack, Hamel 22 (Lauridsen, Roe), 14:05.
Penalties-Borowiecki Bng (fighting), 4:16; Testwuide
Adk (fighting), 4:16; Zolnierczyk Adk (hooking),
3rd Period-6, Adirondack, Ford 24 5:24 (SH).
7, Binghamton, Petersson 22 (Dziurzynski, Da Costa),
10:23. 8, Binghamton, Wiercioch 3 (Cannone, Dziurzynski),
16:46 (PP). 9, Binghamton, Hoffman 19 (Godfrey),
19:37. Penalties-Zolnierczyk Adk (tripping), 4:53;
Eddy Adk (roughing), 6:54; Holmstrom Adk (cross-checking),
Shots on Goal-Binghamton 10-9-18-37. Adirondack
Power Play Opportunities-Binghamton 1 / 4; Adirondack
1 / 1.
Goalies-Binghamton, Lehner 11-19-1 (28 shots-24
saves); McKenna 14-19-1 (9 shots-8 saves). Adirondack,
Leighton 24-23-0 (37 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (24).
Linesmen-Mike Emanatian (69), Steeve Lemay (64).