A Saturday night battle against the Syracuse Crunch
at the Glens Falls Civic Center turned into one
of the most exciting and dramatic games of the
season as the Adirondack Phantoms pulled out a
heart-stopping 4-3 victory in their first shootout
of the season.
Garrett Roe had the game-winner in the shootout
while Brayden Schenn scored two goals in regulation
and Tye McGinn's tip accounted for the other.
But the big story of the game was the hard-working
and unbreakable penalty kill that held the high-octane
offense of the Crunch to 0-for-11 on the power
"It's a funny game out there sometimes. There's
a lot of special teams out there tonight. Maybe
too much," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray
reflected. "But it ends up being the difference
in the game. We had some very good penalty killing
early. They had three in a row. 15 shots about
midway in the first period. The goaltending was
good, the penalty killing was sharp. And then
we get our opportunities on the power play and
capitalize on it."
Syracuse had two power plays late in the third
and another in overtime as the highest scoring
team in the league felt poised to snag the road-game.
But Adirondack's penalty killers came up large
over and over while goalie Scott Munroe also made
several key saves.
And sometimes it also takes a little help from
Lady Luck. Syracuse's Ondrej Palat rushed in during
the overtime and beat Munroe over his glove-hand
but his shot rang off the underside of the crossbar
ad somehow stayed out as the Phantoms stayed alive.
"Schenn hit the crossbar too, could have
won the game in regulation," Murray said.
"You have to earn the right to get a bounce.
And I thought the hard work was poured into it
here tonight. We played hard, they did also. And
at the end of the night that's all it ended up
being the difference. A puck going in off the
post and a puck going out off the post. Two teams
playing hard here tonight.
And back-and-forth it went. An exciting and high-paced
game with both teams generating big chances on
goalies Dustin Tokarski and Scott Munroe.
Syracuse fell out of first place in the conference
with the shootout loss as their record moved to
14-5-3 on the season. Adirondack improved to 10-12-0
with the thrilling and potentially momentum-building
29 out of 30 AHL teams had played in at least
one shootout this season. Adirondack was the last
to do so but appeared ready for the new challenge.
"We've got some skilled players. There's
no question," Murray said. "I thought
Roe made a heckuva move there to win the game
Schenn scored in the first round and Roe in the
fourth as Adirondck went 2-for-4. Syracuse clanged
two of the shootout tries of the posts as well.
The Phantoms are 2-0 in games decided past regulation
this year, both against Syracuse. Adirondack won
their only overtime decision of the season on
October 28 at Syracuse 4-3. And then won the Saturday
night shootout verdict. Adirondack improved to
2-2 against the Syracuse team that operated out
of the Norfolk last year and won the Calder Cup.
Brett Connolly opened the scoring for Syracuse
late in the first period picking up the rebound
of his own shot kicked out by Munroe and tucking
it around the Adirondack goalie's left skate.
The initial save made by Munroe was his 4,000th
as a Phantom, second most in franchise history.
The goal was Connolly's ninth in the AHL after
spending all of last season in the NHL with Tampa
Adirondack would get back-to-back 5-on-3 goals
to begin the second period. Sean Couturier's shot
from center-point was deflected by Tye McGinn
for the big forward's seventh of the year and
third against Syracuse. The goal was initially
credited to Couturier but was later properly changed
to McGinn who also scored a large percentage of
his goals last year against this same team when
they were Norfolk (5 out of 12).
Brayden Schenn blasted a one-timer from the right-circle
on a give by Sean Couturier to give Adirondack
the 2-1 lead.
Syracuse came back to tie it later in the second
period with Pierre-Cedric Labrie picking up the
rebound of a shot that was blocked off the leg
of Sean Couturier. Labrie got to it quickly in
the slot and found the opening to wrist it past
Munroe to tie the score at 2-2 about 14 minutes
into the second.
Jason Akeson's quick faceoff win in the Syracuse
zone gave the Phantoms the lead again as he took
a quick step forward and slid the puck across
to Schenn on the back-door. If you blinked, you
missed it. Schenn's second of the game and 11th
of the year made it 3-2.
Adirondack's lead lasted for only 50 seconds when
Syracuse prevented the Phantoms from clearing
the zone and reigning league MVP Cory Conacher
scored his 10th of the year from the slot.
The Phantoms almost retook the lead just a few
seconds later when Shane Harper had an opening
for a backhand wrap-around. But his attempt went
too far out to the middle and he stuffed it into
the left leg-pad of Tokarski.
And 3-3 the game would remain through an edge-of-your-seat
final period with tremendous chances from both
Zac Rinaldo elbowing at 10:43 of the third then
Garrett Roe holding at 14:55 followed by a roughing
call against Munroe at 0:45 of overtime allowed
the Crunch three big chances to end their power
play drought and come away from the North Country
with the victory.
But the penalty kill fought and scrapped and battled
through one disadvantage after another. Erik Gustafsson
earned number three Star of the Game honors partly
for all of his blocked shots and defensive work.
Harry Zolnierczyk and Danny Syvret among others
also got key interceptions and blocks as well
as clears. The fans hung on with every play and
cheered more and more for each valuable clear.
And somehow Adirondack kept hanging on against
the highest scoring offense in the league.
On Adirondack's side, they went 2-for-9 on the
power play with both of their scores coming 5-on-3.
Syracuse also had a number of quality kills and
both teams easily could have claimed victory in
the third period or in overtime with just a slightly
One of Adirondack's best opportunities came as
Zac Rinaldo returned from the penalty box late
in the third period setting up a 3-on-1 rush.
Couturier tried to drop it back to Rinaldo and
then a flurry of chances from both of them plus
Eric Wellwood ensued but Syracuse was somehow
able to survive and eventually clear the zone
when they appeared on the verge of breaking.
The wild excitement of the third period and overtime
eventually led to the shootout when Schenn and
Roe's goals made the difference while the AHL's
top goal scorers from last year AND this year,
Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson, both came up
empty. Johnson hit the post in the fifth round
allowing the Phantoms to clinch the win.
Adirondack concludes their three-in-three weekend
Sunday afternoon at 4:05 at the Providence Bruins.
The Phantoms are back home next weekend beginning
with a Friday rematch against Syracuse it what
is certainly anticipated to be another exciting
battle. Friday's game is Teddy Bear Toss night
with fans getting to throw their Teddy Bear donations
onto the ice after Adirondack scores their first
goal with all the donations going to benefit the
Greater Glens Falls Salvation Army. Saturday's
weekend finale is against the Manchester Monarchs,
AHL affiliate of the Stanley Cup Champion Los
Terry Murray Post-Game - Dec 8, 2012
Pictures courtesy of Andy Camp and Suzanne Levack:
Garrett Roe scores the game-winner in the shootout
around Syracuse goalie Dustin Tokarski.
Syracuse Crunch 3 at Adirondack Phantoms 4 (SO)
- Status: Final SO
Saturday, December 8, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic
Syracuse 1 2 0 0 - 3
Adirondack 0 3 0 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Syracuse, Connolly 9 (Brown), 17:47.
Penalties-Killorn Syr (holding), 0:47; Zolnierczyk
Adk (interference), 8:14; Bordson Adk (delay of
game), 10:07; Eddy Adk (cross-checking), 12:18;
Aulie Syr (interference), 19:59.
Sunday, December 9 (4:00) -
Adirondack Phantoms at Providence Bruins
Monday, December 11 (7:00) -
Phantoms Power Hour LIVE on Q101.7 at 7:00 PM
with player guests Erik Gustafsson and Oliver
Friday, December 14 (7:00) -
Syracuse Crunch at Adirondack Phantoms. Annual
Teddy Bear Toss Night to benefit the Salvation
Army. Bring your Teddy Bear donation and throw
it on the ice after the Phantoms score their first
goal. It will be raining Teddy Bears inside the
Saturday, December 15 (7:00) -
Manchester Monarchs at Adirondack Phantoms. Boy
Scouts Night. Pregame Pasta Buffet ($12)
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