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
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
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
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
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)
Sunday, April 8 (5:00) - Rochester Americans
at Adirondack Phantoms . Sunday Family 3-Pack
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
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
Saturday, April 14 (7:00) - Worcester Sharks at
Adirondack Phantoms. Fan Appreciation Night with
dozens of prizes. Phantoms T-Shirts courtesy of
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:
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),
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),
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
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