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Built Ford Tough....Times Three!!

April 7, 2012

Matt Ford has certainly been an impressive addition since joining the Adirondack Phantoms on February 3rd. Well, amazing is probably more like it. His hat-trick at Albany on Saturday night led the way to a 5-3 victory over the Devils pulling Adirondack to within one point of a playoff spot with four exciting games left in the regular season and an opportunity to take over sole-possession of eighth place awaiting them on Sunday evening at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Adirondack finished a weekend sweep of their Northway rivals after clinching the Time Warner Cable Cup in their 3-2 comeback win on Friday. The Phantoms won the season series over the Devils 7-3.

In front of a large number of boisterous Phantoms fans who made the trek down the Northway to cheer for Adirondack, Ford scored a goal in each period to up his season total to 29. The West Hills, Cal. native came to the Phantoms in a trade with the Washington Capitals organization for Kevin Marshall about two months ago. He has since scored an amazing 19 goals in just 27 games with his new team after scoring 10 goals in 39 games for the Hershey Bears in the first half of the season.

Ford also has lit it up for eight goals in his last seven games including four goals on the weekend.

Ford stole the puck away from Albany goalie Jeff Frazee who botched his clearing attempt in the middle of the third period to give Adirondack a 4-2 lead on their way to the 5-3 final score. The game-winner is Ford's 9th of the year to lead the AHL. Eight of those game-winning goals have come since joining the Phantoms two of which have come in the Times Union Center including his overtime score in this building a month ago.

The other goals for Adirondack were scored by Rob Bordson (3rd) and an empty-netter in the final seconds by Mike Testwuide (11th).

Similar the Friday night game, Adirondack needed to keep their cool while Albany tried to pester and hassle the Phantoms in the intense playoff-atmosphere like game. Albany outshot the Phantoms 40-21 but Michael Leighton made a number of fine saves again in the important road win. Adirondack's penalty-kill was hugely important as they held Albany to 0-for-7 in the game and 0-for-9 in the weekend sweep.

The victory pulls the surging Phantoms to within one point of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. At 76 points (36-32-4), Adirondack trails Manchester and Portland who are in a two-way tie for 8th and 9th at 77 points. Syracuse is in 7th place with 80 points after their 3-2 win at Hershey.

Another huge game awaits the Phantoms on Easter Sunday when they host Rochester at 5:00. All three teams directly ahead of them have the day off while Adirondack plays the game-in-hand they have. A Sunday win to make it a perfect 3-for-3 weekend would vault the Phantoms past Manchester and Portland and place them all alone in the eighth and final playoff spot in the playoff race.

It's playoff fever in Glens Falls and the Civic Center will be rockin' once again for another huge tilt with major importance for the post-season aspirations of both teams.

The Phantoms have just one regulation loss in their last seven games (5-1-1) with 11 points out of a possible 14 in the exciting climb up the standings. It's going to be an amazing last four games for the regular season with Adirondack in pursuit of a Calder Cup opening round showdown potentially against Norfolk or St. John's.

The Albany loss officially and mathematically eliminated the Devils from post-season contention. Next week, Adirondack fans could be in the uncomfortable and awkward position of rooting FOR the Devils when they play Providence and Syracuse on Saturday and Sunday to finish off their regular season, two teams who are still in the playoff battle right there with Adirondack.

The Saturday night game in Albany started off extremely chippy with lots of big hitting and fighting from the players. Eventually, Tim Sestito of Albany was ejected from the game for a charging major on Tye McGinn at the end of the first period. McGinn was down for a few minutes and got up and hobbled back to the locker room but was able to return to play in the second period apparently okay from the big check.

Matt Ford scored on the power play late in the first period on a fine cross-slot feed by Denis Hamel to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. But Steve Zalewski got it back a couple minutes later as he went crashing into the net to chip home a Tedenby centering give. Leighton was called for a slashing penalty after Zalewski celebrated the score while still in Leighton's crease.

Adirondack began the second period with a 5-on-3 power play thanks in part to Tim Sestito's boarding major. But it was Brad Mills who rushed into the Adirondack zone and shot one off of Leighton's helmet. Mills won the puck again from Erik Gustafsson behind the Adirondack goal and appeared to score a go-ahead goal but Leighton's helmet had come off during the play and ultimately referee Jaime Koharski ruled that the goal would be disallowed.

Mere seconds after the waved-off goal it would be Adirondack striking back 5-on-3 with Jason Akeson's slapper from the left side of the slot missing wide and banking off the end-boards right out to Ford who buried the chance into the wide-open net while Frazee tried to adjust over.

Late in the second period, Joe Whitney would tip in a Dan Kelly shot for Albany to equalize at 2-2. But the Phantoms would score another key goal, this time in the closing minute of the second period.

Shortly after a faceoff win, DanJancevski would crank a slapshot that would be deflected in top-shelf, far-post over the glove of Frazee by Rob Bordson for his third of the season since joining the Phantoms in late February. Adirondack led 3-2 at the second intermission despite being outshot in the middle frame 17-9. Leighton and the Phantoms penalty-kill came through over and over with key stops.

Albany would continue the pressure and blast away at Leighton in the third period to the tune of a 15-4 shot disparity. But the Devils' goalie Jeff Frazee would have a brief let-down that would cost Albany the game.

His quick hesitation on a routine dump-in resulted in the puck not being cleared as forcefully as he intended allowing Ford to rush in and pick it off right in front of the goal. Ford again capitalized past the scrambling Frazee to complete the hat trick midway through the third period to give Adirondack a 4-2 lead as the teams settled down to play cleaner hockey the rest of the way without the nasty hitting and altercations that had become so characteristic of the weekend and the rivalry.

Albany scored a 6-on-5 goal with just nine seconds remaining, Joe Whitney's second of the game, to make it 4-3. But Adirondack quickly won the center draw and Mike Testwuide drove home the empty-netter with just 3.2 seconds left to salt the victory away with a 5-3 final score.

Matt Ford's hat trick was the first for an Adirondack Phantoms since Brayden Schenn. Ford's came in the second-to-last away game of the season while Schenn's was accomplished in the second home game of the year on October 14 against Bridgeport.

Oliver Lauridsen left the game in the third period after a blocked shot and did not return.

Cullen Eddy dropped the gloves with Brad Mills in the middle of the second period as both fighters landed several hard blows.

Scratches for the Phantoms included Blake Kessel, Andrew Rowe, Garrett Klotz, Nick Cousins, Luke Pither, Harry Zolnierczyk, Matt Walker and Campbell Elynuik and Brad Phillips.

After Sunday's home game against Rochester, the Phantoms will finish off the regular season next weekend with three games in three days. Adirondack plays at Springfield next Friday and then they host Worcester and Norfolk back-to-back next Saturday and Sunday.

Norfolk won yet again on Saturday night to stretch their record-setting win-streak to 25 in a row. It's possible the Admirals could carry a 27-game streak into Glens Falls for the season finale on Sunday, April 15 in what could also be a preview of the first round Best-of-5 playoff series. We're still a long way from that scenario however and four big games are in front of the Phantoms in their dramatic and exciting late-season drive to the playoffs.

Adirondack is 5-1-1 in their last seven games since March 24. Since February 25, the Phantoms are 12-6-1 in their last 19 games which has been huge in their push up the standings.

The Phantoms have one of the greatest disparities between home and away success. On home-ice, the Phantoms are 22-12-1 this year. On the road they are only 14-20-3, but they picked up a big road win on Saturday night at Albany. Three of the last four games of the season for the Phantoms are inside the raucous and rockin' confines of the Glens Falls Civic Center.

The Phantoms are 63-48-12 in the past season and a half (123 games) since December 17, 2010. On home-ice, Adirondack has gone an amazing 29-12-1 since March 16 of last year and are 39-18-6 at home since December 17, 2010.

Eastern Conference Playoff Focus (8th Place Qualifies)
7. Syracuse (80 pts)
8. Manchester (77 pts)
8. Portland (77 pts)
10. Adirondack (76 pts)
11. Providence (75 pts)
12. Springfield (74 pts)

Upcoming Events

Sunday, April 8 (5:00) - Rochester Americans at Adirondack Phantoms . Sunday Family 3-Pack Specials.

Monday, April 9 (7:00) - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE at McGinny's. Player guests, Rob Bordson and Derek Mathers. Come join us for the fun or listen live on Q101.7

Friday, April 13 (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Springfield Falcons

Saturday, April 14 (4:30) - Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony honoring Dave Casey, Murray Eaves, Pete Mahovlich and Dave Strader. Tickets for the dinner and banquet are $35 per person or a table of 10 for $250. Reservations can be made to Anne Porreca at (518) 791-4248 or anneporreca@msn.com

Saturday, April 14 (7:00) - Worcester Sharks at Adirondack Phantoms. Fan Appreciation Night with dozens of prizes. Phantoms T-Shirts courtesy of Papa John's

Sunday, April 15 (5:00) - Norfolk Admirals at Adirondack Phantoms. Last game of the regular season! Sunday Family 3-Pack Specials.

I'm In! We need 1,756 season ticket holders for next season to conclusively prove the viability of Glens Falls as a great hockey market. The league and other teams are watching! Currently, we have over 400 season ticket holders for next year. It's a great start. Keep it up, fans! To join the "I'm In" campaign, contribute your $50 down-payment to a season ticket for 2012-13 or ask about a 22-pack or 12-pack ticket plan. Together we can do this. Call the Adirondack Phantoms 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!

Adirondack Phantoms 5 at Albany Devils 3 - Status: Final
Saturday, April 7, 2012 - Times Union Center

Adirondack 1 2 2 - 5
Albany 1 1 1 - 3

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Ford 27 (Hamel), 14:47 (PP). 2, Albany, Zalewski 19 (Tedenby, Gelinas), 17:49. Penalties-McGinn Adk (slashing), 4:09; Lauridsen Adk (roughing), 6:53; Hoeffel Alb (roughing), 6:53; Lauridsen Adk (roughing), 10:59; Zajac Alb (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:11; Brown Adk (high-sticking), 15:50; Zharkov Alb (slashing), 15:50; Eddy Adk (slashing), 15:54; Sestito Alb (slashing), 15:54; Leighton Adk (slashing), 17:49; Whitney Alb (slashing), 19:09; Sestito Alb (major - charging, game misconduct), 20:00.

2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Ford 28 (Akeson, Hamel), 0:46 (PP). 4, Albany, Whitney 14 (Kelly, Zharkov), 14:38. 5, Adirondack, Bordson 3 (Jancevski, Manning), 19:27. Penalties-Roe Adk (slashing), 3:36; Jancevski Adk (roughing), 4:25; Eddy Adk (fighting), 13:05; Mills Alb (fighting), 13:05; Gustafsson Adk (tripping), 17:41; Perkovich Alb (goaltender interference), 17:51.

3rd Period-6, Adirondack, Ford 29 9:53. 7, Albany, Whitney 15 (Gelinas, Zharkov), 19:51. 8, Adirondack, Testwuide 11 19:56 (EN). Penalties-Harper Adk (slashing), 3:43.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 8-9-4-21. Albany 8-17-15-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 4; Albany 0 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 27-24-1 (40 shots-37 saves). Albany, Frazee 11-19-2 (20 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Robert St. Lawrence (10), Frank Murphy (29).


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