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
"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
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:
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).