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
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
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
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.
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
Friday, Janaury 10 (7:00) -
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.