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First Goal of 2014 is Akeson's OT Winner!

January 3, 2014

The first goal of 2014 could not have been a more exciting one. Jason Akeson blasted the only goal of the night from the left-point for an overtime winner as the Adirondack Phantoms prevailed 1-0 over the Hershey Bears.

Three was the charm on this third day of January for the Phantoms. It was Akeson's third career overtime goal which also officially gave Cal Heeter his third career shutout while Adirondack won their third game in a row to improve to 3-0 on their current homestand.

Akeson has the most overtime goals in Adirondack Phantoms' history' one for each of the three seasons he has played in Glens Falls. Brandon Manning is the only other player with two overtime winners. The Phantoms are 3-0 in overtimes this year with two of those wins coming against Hershey. Manning scored in overtime at Hershey on October 5 in the first game of the season.

The game might as well have been titled, "The Cal Heeter and Riley Gill Show" for the first 60 minutes. Gill, primarily an ECHL goalie for most of his career, played a full AHL game for his first time in only his fourth career AHL appearance. Gill held the Phantoms in check with a number of impressive stops including a breakaway save on Rob Bordson in the second period. Cal Heeter was matching Gill save-for-save back on his end in a game that featured a fair number of odd-man rushes at times, particularly in the second-period. But at other times things seemed to become a bit bottled-up.

Akeson's goal came on the only power-play of the night for either side in the relatively clean and mostly infraction-free game. After Derek Mathers dropped the gloves with Patrick Wellar just 2:27 into the contest, neither side would be whistled for the rest of the night until Chay Genoway's high stick into the face of Kris Newbury just a few seconds into the overtime period.

"Well, there were three or four kinds of games in that one," head coach Terry Murray said. "There was some checking. There was some offense on both sides. There was some play that both coaches would probably like to see be a lot better. But, you know what, it's zero-zero at the end and both goaltenders made some very big stops throughout the game. You get an opportunity on the power play. we've talked many times about how a power play can win you a game. Well, it did tonight."

Two of Adirondack's overtime winners have come on power plays. Bruno Gervais also scored from the left-point in a 4-on-3 at the Albany Devils on November 29. This was Adirondack's first home overtime victory of the season and their first since Akeson scored in the extra period on April 13, 2013 against the Connecticut Whale.

"I mean you kind of get a feeling when you’re going out there and you have a power play," Akeson said. "And you know when you got to score when there’s no opportunities to do it during the game. You get a chance like that in overtime, you have to bare down and you have to score. And that’s what we did."

For Cal Heeter's part, 29 saves was the highest total of any of his three shutouts this season. But the 25-year-old from St. Louis did not feel this was challenging as his previous blankings and was quick to credit his teammates.

"It was a great game. I’d say it was probably my easiest one all year," Heeter said. "Yea, they had (almost) 30 shots but our team played so well in front of me. I don’t think they had any scoring chances. We really played a great game defensively, as far as I’m concerned. Really limited their offense and took away the scoring chances they had and picked up any rebounds when there were. Made my job really easy tonight."

It was the second game ever for the Adirondack Phantoms to go the full 60 minutes without either side scoring and the first time it had happened in Glens Falls. On December 6, 2011 the Adirondack Phantoms lost a 1-0 decision on the road at the Hamilton Bulldogs with Nathan Lawson for Hamilton recording the shutout over Michael Leighton.

The game was the third 1-0 final for the Phantoms this season, all with Cal Heeter between the pipes. It is the first 1-0 win for Adirondack this year.

The Phantoms have won three straight to begin their five-game homestand and are also 8-3 in their last 11 games going back to Cal Heeter's most recent shutout before this one; December 6 vs. Hartford. In their last 25 games since October 26 the Phantoms have gone 16-9-0. The win also pushes the Phantoms past idle St. John's and into sole possession of eighth place (the postseason cutout) in the Eastern Conference standings. Adirondack has scored a power-play goal in 11 of their last 16 games and are 11-for-43 on the power-play in their last 11 for 25.6%.

Cal Heeter has started 13 of the last 14 games for the Phantoms. He has allowed two goals or fewer in five straight games with six total goals allowed in the stretch. His 142 saves on 148 shots in his last five games is good for a .959 save percentage during his recent run.

Overall, Heeter's third shutout is second-most in the league tied with Scott Darling of Milwaukee and trailing only Keith Kinkaid of Albany whose league-leading fourth shutout of the season came last Friday against the Phantoms. Heeter and Kinkaid may face each other Saturday night in Glens Falls in Game 7 of the Phantoms vs. Devils rivalry this year. Heeter lowered his goals-against average to 2.13; now 4th in the AHL. In save-percentage, Heeter moved up from 7th to 3rd now at .928.

Three players who had recently been out with injury all returned to the lineup. Marcel Noebels, Bruno Gervais and Derek Mathers had all been on the shelf the past few days. Rob Bordson played in his 132nd consecutive game for the Phantoms. Jason Akeson remains at 99 career professional assists.

Adirondack continues their five-game homestand Saturday night against the Albany Devils on Zack FitzGerald tribute Night with Big Face Fitzy on a Stick for the first 2,500 fans presented by Liberty Graphics. The Phantoms are also at home on Friday, January 10 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Call the Phantoms for tickets: 518-480-3355.

 


Upcoming

Friday, January 3 (7:00) - Hershey Bears at Adirondack Phantoms
First game of 2014!! Pregame Happy Hour - $2 Beer Specials 6:00 - 7:00 PM

Saturday, January 4 (7:00) - Albany Devils at Adirondack Phantoms
Zack FitzGerald Tribute Night! Big Face Fitzy on a Stick for first 2,500 fans courtesy of Liberty Graphics

Friday, Janaury 10 (7:00) - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Adirondack Phantoms

 

 

25 Terrific Seasons
Glens Falls is celebrating its 25th season hosting an AHL team and in so doing now joins an elite group of just 9 other active markets who can make such a claim. It's a great hockey tradition with an old-school feel that began with the Adirondack Red Wings in 1979. In their 20-year tenure at the Glens Falls Civic Center through 1999, the Red Wings won four Calder Cups. The Adirondack Phantoms began play in Glens Falls in 2009-10 and are in their fifth season bringing exciting AHL action to the North Country.

 

 

 

 


 



 
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