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Kessel Strikes Twice in Finale Triumph
April 21, 2013

Just one more chance to show off their stuff before the off-season. One more game to go against the team's top rival. And defenseman Blake Kessel impressively came alive in the last game of the season to score his first two goals of the year as the Adirondack Phantoms won 4-2 at the Albany Devils Sunday afternoon to put the finishing touches on the 2012-13 campaign.

Kessel had spent the majority of the year down in the ECHL with Trenton where he played over 50 games. Sunday was just his eighth AHL game of the season up with the Phantoms. But he deposited tallies at the end of the second and then again at the beginning of the third for just the second and third goals of his AHL career. The younger brother of well-known NHL-star Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs and older brother of women's college hockey player of the year Amanda Kessel had one of the best games of his career.

"We needed him in there to get some offense," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said of Blake Kessel's game. "He's a player that plays well from the offensive blue-line in. He can shoot the puck. He can jump in on the attack. And a couple pucks went in for him. He hasn't had a lot of playing time for us this year. He's been up and down with the East Coast League. Today was a game where he kind of settled in and played and did some good things in the offensive part of the game:"

Marcel Noebels (13th) and Rob Bordson (12th) had the other scores for Adirondack while Cal Heeter notched the win in the last game of the season.

A number of Phantoms fans descended on the Times Union Center in Albany for one last chance to see their team. The game would be the last as a Phantom for perhaps some of the players on the squad including 37-year-old veteran Andreas Lilja who signed a two-year contract to play in his hometown in Sweden for the coming seasons.

However, many of the Phantoms players in the lineup to conclude the campaign are likely to comprise the team's roster for Opening Night 2013-14 and it was nice to finish on such a positive note.

Harri Pesonen scored late in the first-period for the Devils who took a 1-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes and outshot Adirondack 9-3 as the Phantoms were slow to get started.

"The first period wasn't exactly what we wanted," Blake Kessel said. "We came out a little slow and it was something that the coaches talked about. It's our last game as a team. Some guys won't be back here next year. We decided, 'Last Game, Let's give it 40 minutes with everything we've got.' After that you've got five months of rest."

"I didn't like our first period. I thought both teams were kind of feeling the game out to see what was going to happen," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said. "It heated up in the second and third."

Marcel Noebels had his back to the goal controlling the puck in the left circle and after perhaps peeking over his shoulder would almost-blindly fire a backhander back at the net that sneak around the defenseman, past Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid's skate, and into the net to tie the score at 1-1 early in the second period. Noebels finished the season with 13 goals with the Phantoms but had 22 goals in total including the nine scores he racked up with Trenton of the ECHL in the first three months of the season. It was an impressive debut season for the 21-year-old from Germany.

Rob Bordson converted from very close to the same spot as Noebels later in the second period. His hard-wrister banged off the base of the far post and directly in for his second goal of the weekend.

In the last minute of the period, rookie Brandon Alderson muscled his way through impressively for a breakaway and almost scored his first career pro goal. Kinkaid turned away that one but Kessel was skating hard as the trailer and was able to get a backhand knock around a defender right on him for his first goal in the team's last game of the season. Kessel had eight goals in the ECHL though.

"It was a great pay by Noebels to get it to Alderson," Kessel said of the developing play that led to his first of the night. "He made a nice drive and somehow the puck just got back to me. I was afriad I was going to miss the shot but it got in somehow and I was happy."

Early in the third-period, Kessel blasted a hard slapper from the top of the right circle far-post for his second tally and that was all she wrote for Kinkaid who was replaced by rookie Scott Wedgewood who held the Phantoms in check for the rest of the game. Kessel tried to get in there a few times in the last minute of the game but never got off a shot really to try to for his first career hat trick.

Thus concludes the fourth season for the Adirondack Phantoms. The young squad finished with an overall record of 31-38-7. In roughly the last quarter of the season, the Phantoms were 10-8-3 in their final 21 games of the year (since March 8) showing the sharp improvement the team will build upon for the 2013-14 season.

Jason Akeson won the team's goal and points crowds with 20 lamp-lighters and 53 points. Danny Syvret squeaked out the title for most assists with 34 which was just one more than Akeson.

Rob Bordson and Danny Syvret were the ironmen of the team. Both were out there for every one of the 76 games in the regular season. Next closest was Cullen Eddy who played in 70 games.

Zack FitzGerald racked up 202 penalty minutes to lead the Phantoms in only 36 games played. He finished eighth in the league in PIM's this season after leading the AHL in penalty minutes in two of the last three seasons.

Thank to all the fans and corporate partners who make exciting Adirondack Phantoms hockey possible. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Adirondack Phantoms 4 at Albany Devils 2 - Status: Final
Sunday, April 21, 2013 - Times Union Center

Adirondack 0 3 1 - 4
Albany 1 0 1 - 2

1st Period-1, Albany, Pesonen 14 (Severson, Wohlberg), 18:28. Penalties-Harper Adk (tripping), 11:21.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Noebels 13 (Flanagan), 6:09 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Bordson 12 (Roe, Sim), 15:27. 4, Adirondack, Kessel 1 (Alderson, Noebels), 19:02. Penalties-Helgeson Alb (hooking), 4:24; Lilja Adk (hooking), 6:49; Roe Adk (roughing), 11:00; Hoeffel Alb (roughing, roughing), 11:00; Sislo Alb (delay of game), 12:33; served by Laughton Adk (bench minor - unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:36.

3rd Period-5, Adirondack, Kessel 2 (Syvret, Cousins), 3:02. 6, Albany, Hoeffel 5 (Sestito), 16:18 (SH). Penalties-Mathers Adk (roughing), 14:31; Janssen Alb (roughing, charging), 14:31.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 3-13-9-25. Albany 9-9-5-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 4; Albany 0 / 3.
Goalies-Adirondack, Heeter 12-16-3 (23 shots-21 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 21-17-6 (17 shots-13 saves); Wedgewood 2-2-0 (8 shots-8 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Ryan Hersey (8).
Linesmen-Frank Murphy (29), Rich Patry (52).


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