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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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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),
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),
OT Period-7, Adirondack, Akeson 12 (Zolnierczyk,
Manning), 3:01. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Syracuse 10-11-7-3-31. Adirondack
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
Referees-Graham Skilliter (48), Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Frank Murphy (29), Mike Emanatian (69).