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Perfect Weekend! Phantoms Go 3-for-3

March 25, 2012

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 the play.

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.

Upcoming Events

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 Showdown Game!

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), 17:33.

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), 15:15.

Shots on Goal-Binghamton 10-9-18-37. Adirondack 11-17-9-37.
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).



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