Zack FitzGerald was everywhere Friday night. The
well-known tough guy slugged his way through two
fights with Eric Nielson and scored his first
goal of the year on a nice breakaway move to spark
an Adirondack Phantoms comeback. Syracuse would
eventually prevail 4-2 in the hard-fought and
fast-paced game that featured some dazzling stops
by both goalies. In the meantime, Zack FitzGerald
was just an assist away from a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick
(which is a goal, assist and fight all in the
Veteran goalie Brian Boucher for Adirondack was
fully on his game and stunned the Syracuse contingent
with some of his show-stopping blocks. Syracuse
goalie Dustin Tokarski was terrific when he needed
to be and a couple other Adirondack rushes turned
into blasts that just missed a bit wide.
The Phantoms had no issues at all traveling out
to Syracuse as the team left early enough to beat
the impending storm. Traveling home could be a
slower and more drawn out process but without
a game ahead of them on Saturday there is no rush.
Boucher had to be on his game early to prevent
an early deficit from developing. Syracuse raced
out to a 16-3 shots advantage in the first period
but did not strike until Mike Angelidis converted
on a wrap-around try late in the first period
for a 1-0 lead.
Brett Connolly buried a rebound after a terrific
Boucher left-leg kick save early in the second
period and Syracuse had momentum and a 2-0 lead.
But that margin would last for only 77 seconds.
A Syracuse defenseman struggled to control a hopping
puck and the energetic Zack FitzGerald would jump
on the opportunity and turn it into a breakaway
and a nifty backhand-to-forehand move for his
first goal of the year and 11th of his AHL career.
Still trailing 2-1, FitzGerald would drop the
gloves with Nielson for the second time in the
game midway through the second period. And "Fitzy"
would land several big blows in a row to start
the fight that appeared to spark his teammates.
Adirondack perhaps had their best energy and most
success in the attacking zone for the rest of
Jeff Dimmen nicely fed a puck to the middle behind
the defense to the hard-charging David Laliberte
who was similarly able to bury his breakaway opportunity
just like FitzGerald. And just like that, the
Phantoms had stormed back to tie the defending
league champions (who were the Norfolk Admirals
last year) at 2-2.
Laliberte rejoined the Phantoms organization this
year after playing last season in Europe. He was
traded by the Flyers to the Ducks and assigned
to their affiliate in Syracuse in November, 2010.
Laliberte had 18 goals with the Adirondack Phantoms
in 2009-10 and had 28 goals with the Philadelphia
Phantoms the season before that. His breakaway
goal on Friday night was his first as a Phantom
since November, 2010.
Adirondack had a couple close calls before the
second intermission but Syracuse was able to survive
back to the locker room still in a tie game.
Richard Panik had a blocked shot by Zolinerczyk
come right back to his stick as he was moving
around the defender and on his second crack at
the pinballing puck was able to sneak one in past
Boucher nine minutes into the third for the eventual
game-winning goal. It was Panik's team-leading
21st goal of the year.
Brett Connolly would deflect a sharp-angle drive
by Philip-Michael Devos in the closing minutes
to account for the 4-2 final margin.
Adirondack and Syracuse were hampered in the first
period with a bevy of minor infractions interrupting
the flow of the game. But the whistles were less
intrusive in the remaining 40 minutes allowing
for a free-flowing and fast-paced game with both
teams racing back and forth and Boucher and Tokarski
dazzling with some terrific stops on each end.
Scratches for the game included Tyler Brown and
Matt Konan who both came down with flu-like symtoms.
Other scratches included injured Phantoms Mike
Testwuide, Garrett Roe and Matthew Ford.
The Phantoms have a rare Saturday night without
a game upcoming affording them the ability to
take their time getting home through the harsh
snowstorm sweeping the area. Syracuse has to play
at home against Albany on Saturday night before
traveling to Glens Falls on Sunday.
So Adirondack will be the fresher and more rested
team when the host the Crunch on Sunday at 3:00
at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Fans can get
exceptional value via the Sunday Family 3-Pack:
3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 large popcorn
and 1 program all for only $43.
Bring Your Skates!! There will be a post-game
skate with the players presented by Glens Falls
Hospital. Fans are only allowed onto the ice with
the Phantoms players if they are wearing skates.
Call the Phantoms for tickets or to reserve your
Sunday Family 3-Pack at 518-480-3355.
Monday, February 11 (7:00) -
Phantoms Power Hour LIVE on Q101.7. With special
guests Jon Sim and David Laliberte.
Thursday, February 14 (All Day) -
Valentine's Day Deliveries by Dax all throughout
Friday, February 15 (7:00) - Albany
Devils at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 Draft Beer Specials.
Saturday, February 16 (7:00) -
Worcester Sharks at Adirondack Phantoms. Dax Bobbleheads
(first 2,500 fans)
Sunday, February 17 (3:00) -
Adirondack Phantoms at Springfield Falcons
Call the Phantoms in advance for tickets and
Sunday Family Fun Packs and SAVE! 518-480-3355
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