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Fitzy Shows Off at Syracuse
February 8, 2013

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 same game).

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 the period.

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 the region!

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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