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Spectacular Overtime Comeback Win

March 30, 2012

With their backs to the wall and trailing 3-1 in the third period, the Adirondack Phantoms would fight their way out and stage a terrific comeback for a 4-3 overtime win against the Syracuse Crunch in front of 3,761 crazed and noisy fans inside an electrified Glens Falls Civic Center Friday night. Jason Akeson sniped the big game-winner in the extra session after Ben Holmstrom's backhander diving across the slot had tied the game with 3:14 left in regulation.

The key win in the make-it-or-break-it Showdown Series vs. Syracuse pulls the Phantoms to within one point of a playoff spot in the exciting Eastern Conference race with just seven games remaining. Adirondack has made it all possible on the strength of their five-game point streak (4-0-1) as they have leapfrogged their way past multiple teams to force the panicked looks over the shoulders of Manchester and Syracuse who are being chased down by the surging Phantoms.

A loss was not an option for the Phantoms even though Patrick Maroon's two goals had seemingly given Syracuse a comfortable 3-1 advantage in the first two periods. Adirondack put together a ferocious rally boosted by the increasing noise-level inside the building and came through with the important win in what was clearly one of the most important games in Adirondack Phantoms' history.

Andrew Rowe started the comeback with some blazing speed up the left-wing wall. Brandon Manning's outlet pass from the Phantoms' zone hit Rowe in stride and right on the tape. The Muskegon, Michigan native out-raced the Syracuse defender and blasted his top-shelf goal past goalie Iiro Tarkki for the spectacular lamplighter less than seven minutes into the third to pull Adirondack to within a goal at 3-2. It was a truly impressive rush up ice and then top-shelf goal made possible by some blazing speed displayed by Rowe who has now scored in back-to-back games and has eight on the season.

It also ignited the Phantoms' comeback as Adirondack seemingly had Syracuse on their heels for much of the third period.

The Phantoms had the better of the play and outshot the Crunch 17-7 in the final 20 minutes of the game including several tries in tight on Tarkki. But with less than four minutes to go Adirondack was still not able to break Tarkki and continued to trail 3-2 as the team was in danger of dropping the critical contest.

But Brandon Manning did it again. This time he tried another one of his big slappers from the point which he seemed to be firing at will throughout the night. The drive handcuffed Tarkki and the rebound was pounced on by the captain Ben Holmstrom who went wide diving around Tarkki to flip in the backhand while sliding across the slot to the game at 3-3 with over three minutes remaining.

Holmstrom got to his knees doing several excited fist-pumps in celebration while the audience went wild with their raucous cheering. The youngest captain in Phantoms franchise history seems to have a knack for key game-tying goals. He also scored the 6-on-5 equalizer at the Outdoor Classic in front of 45,000 fans with just 21 seconds to go that set up the dramatic overtime win against Hershey.

Syracuse tried to get the momentum back and came charging into the Phantoms zone for a couple tries but were denied by the team that clearly had the advantage in the closing minutes of the game.

Jason Akeson almost never got his chance to drive home the team's sixth overtime win of the year. A rebound off a Michael Leighton pad save was right on the stick for Syracuse rookie talent Peter Holland in front of an open-net. But somehow, as everyone in the building gasped in hopes that the game would not be over, lady-luck appeared on the Phantoms' side and Holland missed the wide-open opportunity upstairs over the crossbar. Defenseman Dan Jancevski was in the vicinity of the play and potentially got a deflection although it was unclear. If he did then it was a game-saving play. If not, then some other mysterious help perhaps benefited the Phantoms on what surely looked like the game-winner for Syracuse in the making.

21-year-old Manning would again set up another goal for Adirondack, this time driving in deep and then dropping for an open Akeson in the left-circle who had time to set up his big game-winning blast to an explosive eruption of screaming and celebration and even a few tears of joy as confessed by some of the fans in their remarks on the team's facebook page. With the heart this team showed in the tremendous comeback, you can hardly blame any of the loyal Phantoms followers for getting emotional after witnessing the grit their players displayed in strengthening their playoff dreams.

Akeson's 12th of the season was his second game-winning goal in the past couple weeks. He also scored the game-winner at Wilkes-Barre on March 23 in a 1-0 victory at the Penguins. The 21-year-old from Orleans, Ontario leads the Phantoms with 50 points.

It was the sixth overtime win for the Phantoms this year with six different players having the game-winning honors. Five of Adirondack's overtime wins have come in home games. Matt Ford won at Albany a few weeks earlier. Shane Harper scored in front of over 45,000 fans at the Outdoor Classic in Philadelphia. Mike Testwuide had a New Year's Eve overtime goal and Ben Holmstrom and Jon Kalinski also had extra-session winners.

Matt Ford scored on the power play in the second period which had tied the score at the time 1-1. Ford had 15 goals since joining the Phantoms two months ago and has 25 total goals this year including his 10 with Hershey in the first half of the season. Ford's 15 goals with Adirondack have come in only 24 games.

Maroon scored his 30th and 31st of the year for Syracuse, six of which have come in 10 games against his former team. Nick Schaus scored from the slot in the third period as well for the other Crunch goal.

It was the first time this year the Phantoms had overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period. Adirondack's only other two-goal comeback was on Opening Night, October 8, in which they trailed 3-1 in the 2nd period and rallied to win 6-3.

The Phantoms are in 9th place in the conference with 72 points. They trail 8th place Manchester (73) and 7th place Syracuse (74). Even 6th place Connecticut (77 points) is within striking distance now for the Phantoms. The top eight teams in the conference make the Calder Cup playoffs in April. Seven games remaining in the regular season including four home games.

Even more drama and excitement are sure to come for Adirondack in this adrenalin-inducing end of the regular season. Come cheer for your Phantoms in their next home games next Friday and Sunday against Albany and Rochester as they inch closer and closer to a postseason berth.

The Phantoms are 10-5-1 in their last 16 games and are 12-8-1 in their last 20. Their overall record stands at 34-31-4 for 72 points. The Phantoms hold one of the best home records in the AHL at 21-12-1.

Since March 19 of last year, the Phantoms are 28-12-1 at home. Since December 17th of last year, Adirondack's overall record is a very impressive 61-47-11.

Adirondack looks for an opportunity to potentially move past Manchester and/or equalize with Syracuse on Saturday night when the Phantoms travel to the Connecticut Whale. Adirondack also has an opportunity to pull to within just three points of the 6th place Whale.

Erik Gustafsson made it to Glens Falls a few hours before game-time to help bolster the lineup and the team's playoff push. He had just played for the Flyers on Thursday night in their blowout win at Toronto and then arrived back to the AHL to play for the Phantoms on Friday. The AHL All-Rookie Team member in 2010-11 has played 30 games with Philadelphia this season and 21 with Adirondack.

Scratches for the Phantoms included Blake Kessel, Garrett Klotz, Garrett Roe, Tye McGinn, Oskars Bartulis, Nick Cousins, and Campbell Elynuik.

Adirondack outshot the Crunch 39-31. The Phantoms were 1-for-6 on the power play while Syracuse went 0-for-3.

Playofff Chase (8th place an better qualify)

6. Connecticut Whale (77 pts)
7. Syracuse Crunch (74 pts)
8. Manchester Monarchs (73 pts)
9. Adirondack Phantoms (72 pts)
10. Portland Pirates (72 pts)
11. Albany Devils (71 pts)
12. Providence Bruins (69 pts)
13. Springfield Falcons (68 pts)
14. Worcester Sharks (67 pts)

Upcoming Events

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.

Saturday, April 7, (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Albany Devils

Sunday, April 8 (5:00) - Rochester Americans at Adirondack Phantoms
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

Syracuse Crunch 3 at Adirondack Phantoms 4 (OT) - Status: Final OT
Friday, March 30, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic Center

Syracuse 0 3 0 0 - 3
Adirondack 0 1 2 1 - 4

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-served by Akeson Adk (bench minor - too many men), 9:19; Holzapfel Syr (tripping), 11:48.

2nd Period-1, Syracuse, Maroon 30 (Jacques, Holland), 1:05. 2, Adirondack, Ford 25 (Holmstrom, Gustafsson), 6:19 (PP). 3, Syracuse, Schaus 4 (McMillan, Holzapfel), 10:37. 4, Syracuse, Maroon 31 (Clark, Holland), 13:34. Penalties-Cumiskey Syr (high-sticking), 5:47; Hamel Adk (slashing), 8:48; Palmieri Syr (holding), 10:13; McGinnis Syr (cross-checking), 18:39.

3rd Period-5, Adirondack, Rowe 8 (Manning), 6:50. 6, Adirondack, Holmstrom 12 (Ford, Manning), 16:46. Penalties-McGinnis Syr (interference), 2:16; Bordson Adk (hooking), 9:06; Carle Syr (interference), 13:21.

OT Period-7, Adirondack, Akeson 12 (Zolnierczyk, Manning), 3:01. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Syracuse 10-11-7-3-31. Adirondack 7-13-17-2-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Syracuse 0 / 3; Adirondack 1 / 6.
Goalies-Syracuse, Tarkki 20-16-4 (39 shots-35 saves). Adirondack, Leighton 25-23-1 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Graham Skilliter (48), Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Frank Murphy (29), Mike Emanatian (69).




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