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The Power of the Fitzy-Heads!

January 4, 2014

Backed by 2,500 Big-Face Fitzy Heads, the Adirondack Phantoms won their fourth straight with another Cal Heeter shutout. Kris Newbury scored two goals and one assist as Adirondack breezed past the Albany Devils 4-0 in front of a large Fitzy Fan-Base on Zack FitzGerald Tribute Night.

Cal Heeter turned in yet another perfecto, his second in a row and his fourth of the season. His 33-save effort against the Devils came 24 hours after a 29-save performance in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Hershey Bears. Heeter is now tied with Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid for the league-lead in shutouts with four apiece. But it wasn't Kinkaid in net for the visiting Devils in this one. Adirondack scored all four of their markers against Scott Wedgewood to stay perfect during their longest homestand of the season at 4-0 with one game remaining next Friday.

But the big night also belonged to Adirondack's Man of the Year last season, Zack FitzGerald. The immensely popular tough-guy has been a valuable representative of the team and is always excited to interact with the fans and kids cheering him on. He was especially pleased and honored to have his own special night although perhaps also felt a little strange with 2,500 faces of himself staring back at him from the stands. His parents flew in from Minnesota for the special night and "Fitzy" also dropped the ceremonial first puck to begin the evening which was sponsored by Liberty Graphics.

“It was cool to see a bunch of heads boppin’ around. I’m sure my teammates will be having nightmares about them later” FitzGerald joked.

Adirondack solidified their hold on eighth-place (the postseason cutoff) in the Eastern Conference while improving to 9-3-0 in their last 12 games since December 6. And since October 26, the Phantoms have an impressive record of 17-9-0 in their last 26 games. No question about it. The Phantoms are playing some darn good hockey and are defeating some good competition along the way, including the Albany Devils. It was only the second regulation-loss in the last 16 games for Albany.

Heeter has now taken over the league-lead in save percentage with a gaudy .932 mark and is just a hair away from the lead in goals-against average at 2.03 barely falling shy of Keith Kinkaid's current 2.02 status.

While Cal Heeter was turning away everything the Devils threw at him (and they had numerous close chances), Adirondack's offense came alive and notched three goals in the second period including back-to-back goals just 90 seconds apart late in the frame to essentially put the game away.

Certainly the second-year pro goalie out of Ohio State has been catching everyone's attention. Head coach Terry Murray has thrust Heeter into an everyday role while Yann Danis has been on the shelf with injury.

"He’s been moving his game along here in the last month I think," Murray said. "You know, we had a long break at Christmas. We came back and played three in a row. He played two very good games, even the game we lost in Albany last week; he’s the one player that had a pretty good night. So his game is moving, and it’s good to see. He puts a lot into it and it’s good to see him rewarded."

The Phantoms put forth a more solid offensive effort than the night before when they pulled off their 1-0 overtime win over Hershey. The main contributor was the veteran Kris Newbury who had a three-point evening.

"We seemed to hold onto the puck and make some good passes when we had chances," Newbury said. "And obviously when you make good plays, you get rewarded. I thought tonight we were really good."

Bruno Gervais started the scoring late in the first period after Rob Bordson won a puck from the Albany defense along the end-boards. His centering feed went through Marcel Noebels crashing the net but Gervais still had time to rush in and find the free opportunity in the slot and blast home the opening tally of the evening.

Both of Kris Newbury's goals perhaps involved a little lady-luck. On his first goal, he appeared to be attempting to fire a hard centering pass to Tye McGinn in the middle, but the puck deflected off an Albany's defenseman's stick and moved perfectly past Wedgewood's glove-side who had no chance while he was sliding the other way to guard the pass.

Jason Akeson's assist on that Newbury goal was the 100th of his professional career. Akeson has 92 assists with the Adirondack Phantoms and also had eight assists last year with Trenton in the ECHL. Akeson's 135 career points in the AHL are the most in Adirondack Phantoms' history.

Later in the period, a Newbury faceoff in the Devils zone would squirt high in the air over his head and he momentarily was unable to find it. But the puck landed almost perfectly onto his stick allowing him to pull off the quick shot. He was ready to score his ninth of the year and stretch the advantage to 3-0.

"I heard the linesman say it was up in the air," Newbury said. "So I kind of just picked a side and obviously I picked the right one where it landed. And when I did get it, I just wanted to shoot it as quick as I can and catch the goalie off-guard there. So the linesman might get the assist on that one."

90 seconds later, Newbury tried a similar centering pass that had previously worked as a deflected goal for himself. This time, the pass would make it through and Tye McGinn rushing into the slot was there for a perfect chip over the left shoulder of Wedgewood for the 4-0 lead. Akeson had started the play up along the right-wing boards with a nice pass up ice to Newbury busting across the line just as Akeson was being checked into the glass.

It was just a matter of running down the close after that. And waiting to see if Heeter would secure another shutout. He did. And the crowd roared their approval. Heeter's fourth shutout puts him one away from equaling Michael Leighton's Adirondack Phantoms record of five shutouts in a single season in 2010-11.

Heeter turned away all 62 shots he faced this weekend in slightly over 120 minutes of play (including 51 seconds of overtime on Friday) and his shutout streak currently stands at 126 minutes at 13 seconds going back to the last goal he allowed late in the third period on New Year's Eve against the Worcester Sharks.

Heeter has now allowed two goals or fewer in six consecutive games with 175 saves on 181 shots in that stretch for a phenomenal .967 save percentage. He has started 13 of the last 14 games for the Phantoms since an injury on November 29 to Yann Danis.

The Phantoms now have almost a week off between games. Adirondack returns to action next Friday, January 10 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Phantoms play their first road game of 2014 on Satruday, January 11 at the Binghamton Senators but will return to the Glens Falls Civic Center for another homestand, three straight, from January 15-18. Call the Phantoms for tickets in advance to save: 518-480-3355.

Albany Devils 0 at Adirondack Phantoms 4 - Status: Final
Saturday, January 4, 2014 - Glens Falls Civic Center

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

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Gervais 6 (Bordson), 18:57. Penalties-Young Alb (fighting), 6:25; Lauridsen Adk (fighting), 6:25; Delisle Adk (interference), 15:14.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Newbury 8 (Akeson, McGinn), 1:21. 3, Adirondack, Newbury 9 14:55 (PP). 4, Adirondack, McGinn 6 (Newbury, Akeson), 16:25. Penalties-Delisle Adk (boarding), 2:58; Kelly Alb (roughing), 13:02.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-McPherson Alb (holding), 1:28; Wedgewood Alb (tripping), 4:48; FitzGerald Adk (high-sticking), 11:29.

Shots on Goal-Albany 9-13-11-33. Adirondack 9-13-13-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 0 / 3; Adirondack 1 / 3.
Goalies-Albany, Wedgewood 6-6-1 (35 shots-31 saves). Adirondack, Heeter 13-10-0 (33 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Kendrick Nicholson (76), Jarrod Ragusin (54).
Linesmen-Steeve Lemay (64), Francis Trempe (56).


Tuesday, January 7(7:00) - Phantoms Power Hour LIVE From Recovery Sports Grill
Special Player Guests: Cal Heeter and Carsen Chubak

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

Saturday, January 11 (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Binghamton Senators

Wednesday, January 15 (7:00) - Binghamton Senators at Adirondack Phantoms

Friday, January 17 (7:00) - Hartford Wolf Pack at Adirondack Phantoms

Saturday, January 18 (7:00) - Albany Devils at Adirondack Phantoms
Dax's Big Birthday Bash. Wth Mascot-Mania!!



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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