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Valuable Standings Point at Syracuse

March 28, 2012

Adirondack earned a valuable standings point in the Eastern Conference playoff race in Wednesday night's game at Syracuse but missed on their opportunity to grab 8th place in the standings in another heart-stopping goaltenders' duel. The Crunch were barely able to edge the Phantoms in the shootout 2-1 just moments after both teams had almost sealed the win in overtime in the wild and entertaining contest.

Andrew Rowe scored for Adirondack while former Phantom Patrick Maroon lit the lamp for Syracuse followed by Kyle Palmieri scoring the lone goal for either side in the shootout to ultimately decide matters. But the chatter following the game revolved around Adirondack goalie Michael Leighton who turned in yet another phenomenal performance in stopping 42 or 43 Crunch shots including several dazzlers in the third period and overtime.

With just a few seconds remaining, Ben Holmstrom and Mike Testwuide cruised into the Syracuse zone on a 2-on-1 with a chance to win. The Syracuse defender took Testwuide giving Holmstrom the open shooting try from the left circle. The Phantoms captain beat goalie Iiro Tarkki over his glove-hand but glanced it off the top of the crossbar and out. With the puck glancing upstairs and away went Adirondack's best chance to notch the second point in the contest.

Adirondack is 4-4-1 against Syracuse this year heading into the conclusion of the Showdown Series on Friday night back at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Phantoms overall stand at 33-31-4 for 70 standings points while Syracuse improved to 32-27-9 for 73 points.

Syracuse is in a 7th/8th tie with Manchester at 73 points followed closely by a 9th place tie between Adirondack and Portland who have 70 points each. The Phantoms can close to within one point of Syracuse with a regulation win in the big rematch on Friday.

A wild and back-and-forth second period saw the Phantoms outshoot the Crunch 16-15 with both goalies getting tested over and over. Andrew Rowe accepted a long stretch pass from Cullen Eddy in stride and roofed the breakaway try over Tarkki's blocker to knock the water bottle and give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. Rowe's goal was his 7th of the year.

That lead lasted for all of 57 seconds. Dan Sexton threaded in perfectly from the right-wing wall to Pat Maroon in the left circle to crank home the one-timer and tie it at 1-1. Maroon has a career-high 29 goals placing him fourth in the AHL.

Then the third period and overtime would see Leighton stand on his head for more amazing saves which have become stunningly common-place for the 29-year-old who helped lead the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

It was a performance good enough to at least earn the standings point and break out of the 10th place tie at 69 with Albany and Providence who are still hanging on in the tight race.

Leighton had been peaking in the past few weeks and only built on that momentum and success in this one. In his previous 13 games since March 19, he had gone 9-4-0 with a solid 1.99 goals against average and an outstanding .939 saves percentage. BOTH of those stats improved after this one even though he was pinned with the shootout loss.

Derek Mathers dropped the gloves for the first time in his pro career in a third period bout against Josh Brittain. The 18-year-old from the Peterborough Petes joined the Phantoms on an amateur tryout contract a week ago. He was third in the OHL in penalty minutes this season.

Cullen Eddy also scrapped with former Phantoms Patrick Maroon. Eddy had the edge early but Maroon came back late to land a number of blows to the back of Eddy's head although the second-year Phantom appeared to be unfazed following the altercation with the bigger Maroon.

Adirondack was without defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon and goalie Jason Bacashihua who were both called up to Philadelphia due to injuries on the Flyers. Goalie Brad Phillips was reassigned to Adirondack from Trenton of the ECHL to serve as Leighton's backup.

Two new signees on ATO's did not see game-action. Campbell Elynuik and Nick Cousins were among the scratches in the game. Other scratches included Tye McGinn, Garrett Klotz, Luke Pither and Oskars Bartulis.

Syracuse outshot the Phantoms 44-35. The Crunch were 0-for-4 on the power play while Adirondack went 0-for-2 in the mostly clean game in which players from both sides didn't want to take costly penalties that would allow the other team to break the tie.

The Phantoms have a four-game point streak at 3-0-1 and are just three points back of a playoff spot with only eight games remaining in the regular season. The Crunch are one of the hottest teams in the league and have an eight-game point streak at 7-0-1 and are also 10-1-1 in their last 12 to move into their current playoff positioning.

The two meet again on Friday in Glens Falls in the only home game of the week for the Phantoms. Come out and feel the intensity of the playoff push in the finale of the Adirondack vs. Syracuse Showdown Series!

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.

Sunday, April 1, (12:00 - 2:00) - Thank You Fans!! "I'm In" barbecue at the Front Plaza of the Civic Center. Free hot dogs and snow-cones, games, and more! All are welcome. See you there!

Monday, April 2, (7:00) - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE at McGinny's. Special guests, head coach Joe Paterson. Also Gordon Woodworth from The Chronicle. Come join us!! Also airs live on Q101.7

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

Adirondack Phantoms 1 at Syracuse Crunch 2 (SO) - Status: Final SO
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter

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

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Akeson Adk (tripping), 1:42; Bordson Adk (goaltender interference), 7:43; Holzapfel Syr (tripping), 15:55.

2nd Period-1, Adirondack, Rowe 7 (Eddy), 8:04. 2, Syracuse, Maroon 29 (Sexton, McGinnis), 9:01. Penalties-Zolnierczyk Adk (tripping), 1:28; O'Marra Syr (high-sticking), 9:33; Eddy Adk (fighting), 16:47; Holmstrom Adk (slashing), 16:47; Holland Syr (slashing), 16:47; Maroon Syr (fighting), 16:47.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mathers Adk (fighting), 9:36; Brittain Syr (fighting), 9:36; Hamel Adk (delay of game), 10:08.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout - Adirondack 0 (Akeson NG, Hamel NG, Ford NG, Rowe NG, Bordson NG), Syracuse 1 (Holland NG, Maroon NG, Palmieri G, Caputi NG).
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 9-16-5-5-0-35. Syracuse 6-15-14-8-1-44.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 2; Syracuse 0 / 4.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 24-23-0 (43 shots-42 saves). Syracuse, Tarkki 19-15-4 (35 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84), Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Dan Murphy (21), Fraser McIntyre (94).



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