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Busy Stretch of Games Concludes
January 26, 2013

This time the comeback wasn't quite there. A Phantoms team who overcame a 5-1 deficit a few nights ago in Connecticut with a ferocious rally tried to summon similar magic again in Albany but this time were not able to pull it off.

A record-crowd helped boost the Albany Devils to a quick start on Saturday afternoon en route to a 5-2 decision over the Adirondack Phantoms at the Times Union Center. 10,218 fans saw Adirondack out-play Albany for the last two periods of the game in the Phantoms' comeback efforts. But it was the first period in which Albany raced out to a 3-0 lead that made the difference in the Time Warner Cable Cup rivalry game. It was the largest crowd in Albany Devils' history.

The game was the conclusion of one of the busier stretches of the season for the Phantoms who played six games in nine days, four of which were against the Albany Devils.

Coming up next is a well-deserved, four-day All-Star break after such a hectic pace. But it is perhaps not a welcome respite for the Phantoms who have generally had good success in bouncing back following tough defeats and say they would be quite eager to keep on playing if they could.

"These weeks where you just have four days of no practice takes away from your ability to build momentum," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said. "These young hockey players need to play hockey, and I'd rather just keep pushing on."

"We have to take this break and use it to our advantage to regroup and be ready when we come back," reiterated Harry Zolnierczyk.

The Devils scored 3 first-period goals and the Phantoms were unable to come back from that deficit. A Steve Zalewski deflection of a slap-shot by Eric Gelinas opened the scoring. Harri Pesonen converted on a rebound opportunity a few minutes later, his first of two goals in the game. And then Bobby Butler was there for a couple backhand whacks after a Tim Sestito shot rebounded from Scott Munroe. The former Ottawa Senator, Butler, eventually jammed in his 16th goal of the season and Albany had opened a 3-0 advantage by the first intermission.

The game was only the second in the month of January for goalie Scott Munroe and his first in a couple of weeks.

Erik Gustafsson returned to action this weekend following a six-week layoff from an injury sustained when blocking a shot on December 14. Gustafsson is still getting on the road back to his top form after the long injury layoff. "The timing wasn't there and there were a lot of small things that I didn't do right," Gustafsson said. "I've just got to be better than that."

Both goals that the Phantoms scored came on the power play. The Phantoms power play has been especially strong of late as Adirondack now has a streak of 6 consecutive games with at least one power play goal. The Phantoms have now scored 9 power play goals in that run in 30 opportunities for a 30% conversion rate.

Marcel Noebels kept his hot streak going with the first of those power-play goals. He was able to score his fifth goal in his last seven games in the second period with 7:49 left with assists from Jason Akeson and Danny Syvret. Akeson rushed up the right-wing and fired a perfect centering pass to Noebels who was able to lunge for it on the backdoor and smartly chip it in past Keith Kinkaid.

Adirondack killed off an early third-period power play to maintain the 3-1 difference but then Albany received another power-play and Finland-native Harri Pesonen was able to jam in his second of the game for a 4-1 lead.

In addition to his assist, Danny Syvret also scored a power play goal with 13:30 left in the game, just a couple minutes after Pesonen had tallied. Syvret cranked a center-point half-slapper that closed the game to 4-2. The red-hot Syvret has now scored 6 points in the last 3 games. On the season, Syvret has now scored 3 goals and 18 assists. The helper on the Noebels goal earlier gives him 97 career assists with the Phantoms franchise.

With the score at 4-2 late in the game, and the Phantoms on the power play. Scott Munroe was pulled for a 6 on 4 advantage. Unfortunately, Kelly Zajac stormed the empty net with 12.5 seconds left and caped off the Devils 5-2 victory.

Kory Nagy made his Adirondack debut in the game wearing number 19 taking on his former team. Nagy played for the Albany Devils last year and the year before. He was signed to a PTO from the Trenton Titans earlier in the week.

Former Phantoms standout David Laliberte was in the lineup again for his second game back with the team. Before this weekend, Laliberte's last game with Adirondack was November 22, 2010 just before he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks organization along with Patrick Maroon in exchange for Rob Bordson and Danny Syvret. Laliberte suffered a knee injury playing in Canada last year and was just signed to an AHL contract by Adirondack last week shortly after his recovery.

The win for the Devils also means that Albany has clinched the Time Warner Cable Cup from the Phantoms as they now lead the Phantoms in the 12 game season series; 6 games to 2 and have also clinched the advantage in tie-breakers. It is Albany's first win of the Time Warner Cable Cup since 2009-10 and snaps Adirondack's two-year reign on the rivalry trophy.

The Phantoms are now off for the all-star break.Adirondack returns to practice on Thursday to prepare for their next game on Friday night at home against Norfolk. Brandon Manning is off to Providence to represent the Phantoms in Monday night's AHL All-Star Classic.

Some of the players would prefer to keep on playing right away if they could. They're ready to get back at it. For a player like Gustafsson, the layoff comes at a particularly frustrating time because he had just returned from his own six week hiatus due to injury. However, he is hopeful that the break can be a positive thing for the team in the end and help the group get back the quality play they just had last week when they had a three-game point streak going 2-0-1 on their recent road-trip.

"I would like to keep on going and get my strength back," Gustafsson said. "But maybe it will be good for the guys to get a mental break and hopefully we can do better after the break."

The Phantoms next game on Friday, February 1 will be against the Norfolk Admirals at the Glens Falls Civic Center starting at 7:00 p.m. For tickets, call the Phantoms at 518-480-3355.

Adirondack Phantoms 2 at Albany Devils 5 - Status: Final
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - Times Union Center

Adirondack 0 1 1 - 2
Albany 3 0 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Albany, Zalewski 7 (Gelinas, Whitney), 4:02. 2, Albany, Pesonen 8 (Burlon, DeSimone), 10:55. 3, Albany, Butler 16 (Sestito, Gelinas), 14:30. Penalties-Kelly Alb (roughing), 1:14; Manning Adk (interference), 5:35; Akeson Adk (closing hand on puck), 12:58; Zolnierczyk Adk (roughing), 13:43; Burlon Alb (roughing), 13:43; Whitney Alb (holding), 13:43.

2nd Period-4, Adirondack, Noebels 5 (Akeson, Syvret), 12:11 (PP). Penalties-Gelinas Alb (interference), 2:18; Ford Adk (interference), 4:16; Whitney Alb (high-sticking), 4:43; Leach Alb (interference), 11:49; Noebels Adk (tripping), 19:37.

3rd Period-5, Albany, Pesonen 9 (DeSimone), 4:07 (PP). 6, Adirondack, Syvret 3 (Laliberte, Manning), 6:30 (PP). 7, Albany, Zajac 5 (Sestito), 19:47 (SH EN). Penalties-Zolnierczyk Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:54; Burlon Alb (kneeing), 4:30; Urbom Alb (holding), 12:06; Laliberte Adk (tripping), 16:01; Leach Alb (tripping), 19:27.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 6-10-12-28. Albany 9-5-5-19.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 8; Albany 1 / 6.
Goalies-Adirondack, Munroe 9-10-0 (18 shots-14 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 14-8-4 (28 shots-26 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (77), Ryan Fraser (14).
Linesmen-Derek Wahl (46), Frank Murphy (29).


Monday, January 28 (7:00) - AHL All-Star Game at Providence. Televised nationwide. In Glens Falls can be seen on Time Warner Cable Sports (Channel 50 and HD-1803)

Thursday, January 31 - Players return. End of AHL All-Star Break

Friday, February 1 (7:00) - Norfolk Admirals at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 Draft Beer Specials

Saturday, February 2 (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Wednesday, February 6 (7:00) - Binghamton Senators at Adirondack Phantoms. $1 Hot Dogs.

Sunday, February 10 (3:00) - Syracuse Crunch at Adirondack Phantoms. Sunday Family Fun Pack - Exceptional Value! Post-Game Skate with the Phantoms presented by Glens Falls Hospital.

Call the Phantoms for tickets in advance and SAVE! 518-480-3355

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