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Tremendous Goalie Duel Opens Weekend Homestand

April 4, 2014

Cal Heeter and John Gibson cranked up the Wow-Meter in one of the great goaltender duels of the season. But the other players on each side were pretty exciting to watch too. A high-paced and energetic game that easily could have produced nine total goals instead turned into a low-scoring nail-biter with the visiting Norfolk Admirals eventually prevailing in the shootout by a 2-1 final score.

Phantoms netminder Cal Heeter made several spectacular and eye-popping saves in what may have been one of the best games of his still-early professional career. 20-year-old John Gibson of Norfolk perhaps did not make quite as many 10-Bell style saves as Heeter turned in, but he was quite good on his end as well in a contest that remained goal-less for 51 minutes.

Nick Cousins scored for the Phantoms with nine minutes left to cap one of the several exciting back-and-forth transition sequences. But Norfolk rebounded with a power-play goal by newcomer Matt Bailey with just five minutes left, the first of his professional career. Andre Petersson scored for Norfolk in the first round of the shootout and then Gibson would shut out all five Phantoms shooters to preserve the important win for the Admirals who are battling with Hershey for the last remaining playoff spot.

Perhaps partly due to the importance of the game in the standings for Norfolk, the AHL affiliates of the Anaheim Ducks, the game seemed to actually take on a certain type of playoff intensity bringing out some high-quality efforts from both sides to delight the Glens Falls Civic Center contingent.

"I liked the game," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said. "A lot of good things, playing against a team that are trying to get into the playoffs, that are one point out. They're a veteran hockey club with an excellent goaltender. And I thought we hung in there, dug in, competed, played hard, and had our looks. Finally found a way to break the seal on them with a nice goal by Cousins. And we lose a face-off on a P.K. and it's tied up. Overall, a good competitive effort."

And yes, this was perhaps just an appetizer to the big weekend homestand. The Phantoms are beginning a stretch of three home games in less than 48 hours with more to come at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

This would be Adirondack's second consecutive overtime and shootout game as the team also played a thriller last Saturday against Springfield on Fan Appreciation Night. Both were toss-ups right to the very last round of the shootout. It was also the second straight time the Phantoms had a third-period lead on home-ice but were unable to secure the W in the end.

There was certainly a lot to like about this one. The 1-1 tie after 65 minutes was hardly an ordinary or routine kind of game. This was one of the higher-paced and more exciting battles of the season with both teams speeding up and down the ice on multiple occasions with big chances. On Heeter's end were a number of point-blank saves, last-millisecond reactions on quick shots, and a lot of help in front from some diving and scrambling Phantoms skaters making even more big plays to preserve the scoreless deadlock past the midway point of the third period.

Even the goal that Adirondack scored to take the lead would come right after another one of Norfolk's great scoring chances. Mark Alt on the point had tried to keep the puck in but ended up losing his balance in his first shift back after a big double-hit when he was sandwiched by Max Sauve and Zack Stortini had briefly sent him out of the game. Norfolk gobbled up the turnover and raced back at Heeter with a 3-on-1 but Max Friberg's big drive from the left-circle missed the goal and took a hard rebound off the end-boards to send Adirondack flying back the other way. Nick Cousins sped up the left-wing on Adirondack's 3-on-1 and buried an impressive blast high-glove, far-post on John Gibson to give the Phantoms the lead. Cousins 10th goal of the season had finally broken the scoreless goaltenders' duel.

Norfolk was pressuring a few minutes later and their top scorer Devante Smith-Pelly found himself the recipient of a turnover while he was all alone in the high-slot ready to move at Heeter. Seemingly out of nowhere, Derek Whitmore rushed from behind to dive across and break up the play knocking the puck with his stick. Somehow, Whitmore was called for a tripping penalty on the play. And after one furious scramble after another with the Phantoms barely hanging on, Norfolk converted shortly after a faceoff win with Alaska-Anchorage product Matt Bailey deflecting the pass in the slot from the right-wing boards over to the far-post past the blocker of Heeter to equalize.

More excitement would follow through the remaining five minutes of regulation and then into overtime when the Phantoms benefited from a penalty call to receive their own power play. Adirondack was never able to significantly challenge Gibson during that glorious 4-on-3 opportunity though and that allowed Norfolk the chance to pull out the win in the shootout.

Phantoms captain Ben Holmstrom echoed his coach's sentiments that the team's quality of play was extremely high. "I think we played a pretty good (65) minutes," Holmstrom said. "We've been talking about coming back after four or five days off, since our last game was Saturday. I think we did a pretty good job of coming out and being ready. Maybe the second half of the first period we let up a little bit but I'd say it was one of our better all-around efforts."

Adirondack out-shot the Admirals 33-32. Norfolk finished 1-for-6 on the power play while Adirondack was 0-for-6. Those power-play numbers were a tad skewed however as both teams had a pair of power plays that were only three seconds long due to consecutive penalties being whistled. The Phantoms finished the season series with Norfolk at 1-2-1.

Just eight games remain with only four home games left for the Adirondack Phantoms. And two of those remaining home games are in the next two days. The Phantoms host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday at 7:00 and then welcome the Albany Devils to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the final time on Sunday at 3:00. Order your Phantoms Family FunPacks for only $43 to receive 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas plus popcorn and a program. Add to your package for only an additional $15. Call the Phantoms at 518-480-3355.


Norfolk Admirals 2 (SO) at Adirondack Phantoms 1 - Status: Final SO
Friday, April 4, 2014 - Glens Falls Civic Center

Norfolk 0 0 1 0 - 2
Adirondack 0 0 1 0 - 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Steckel Nor (boarding), 0:41; Goumas Adk (hooking), 8:54.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Flanagan Adk (hooking), 4:32; Alt Adk (roughing), 10:38; Karlsson Nor (delay of game - faceoff violation), 10:41; Yonkman Nor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:34; Alderson Adk (tripping), 15:34; Manning Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:34.

3rd Period-1, Adirondack, Cousins 10 (Whitmore), 11:03. 2, Norfolk, Bailey 1 (Gagne, Eminger), 14:29 (PP). Penalties-Petersson Nor (high-sticking), 0:58; Yonkman Nor (fighting), 4:25; Delisle Adk (fighting), 4:25; Stortini Nor (fighting), 6:49; FitzGerald Adk (instigating, fighting, misconduct - instigating), 6:49; Karlsson Nor (high-sticking), 6:52; Eminger Nor (slashing), 8:44; Whitmore Adk (tripping), 13:42.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Eminger Nor (tripping), 0:23.

Shootout - Norfolk 1 (Petersson G, Blacker NG, Karlsson NG, Etem NG, Smith-Pelly NG), Adirondack 0 (Cousins NG, Whitmore NG, Akeson NG, Goumas NG, Flanagan NG).
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 9-11-9-2-1-32. Adirondack 9-10-10-4-0-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 1 / 6; Adirondack 0 / 6.
Goalies-Norfolk, Gibson 21-17-4 (33 shots-32 saves). Adirondack, Heeter 15-24-2 (31 shots-30 saves).
A-2,632
Referees-Nic Leduc (12).
Linesmen-Steeve Lemay (64), Frank Murphy (29).


Upcoming

Saturday, April 5 (7:00) - Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms

Sunday, April 6 (3:00) - Albany Devils at Adirondack Phantoms - Sunday Family FunPacks for only $43!

Sunday, April 13 (5:00) - Utica Comets at Adirondack Phantoms - Sunday Family FunPacks for only $43

Friday, April 18 (7:00) - Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms - Fond Farewell Night!
Last Adirondack Phantoms Home Game

 

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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