Manning with Gordie Howe Hat TrickFebruary 17, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) Adirondack Phantoms
Adirondack pulled to within six points of 7th/8th place Worcester and Bridgeport for the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference heading into a key Northeast Division showdown game at the Sound Tigers down in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Saturday night.
Along with Manning's goal and fisticuffs, Cullen Eddy and Oliver Lauridsen both got into spirited scraps with different Manchester players to continually fire-up a loud and energized crowd.
Recently acquired Matt Ford paced the offense with a couple of goals. And Ben Holmstrom dished out three assists in the game while Harry Zolnierczyk had a couple in the balanced attack.
Shane Harper and Garrett Roe also both chipped in, scoring their 7th goals of the year for each.
Almost lost amidst all the scoring and fights and hitting was another stellar performance on the Adirondack end by goalie Jason Bacashihua who turned in a 31-save effort for his eighth win of the year just three days after his spectacular performance at Toronto on Valentine's Day in an overtime loss.
Brandon Manning would get the game off to a rockin' start with a fight less than two minutes in. Later, with five minutes left in the opening period, he would rocket home a slapshot on a 5-on-3 power-play to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead at the first break. It was the fourth goal of the season for the rookie blueliner out of Prince George, British Columbia.
Jason Bacashihua would make one of his fine saves early in the second period and Adirondack quickly transitioned off of that save into a rush in the other zone with Ben Holmstrom and Matt Ford. The drive by Ford was kicked away by Monarchs goalie Jeff Zatkoff but would take a fortuitous bounce into the slot as Ford had curled back there. The 27-year-old was able to wheel and shoot it home for his first of the night, second as a Phantom, and 12th overall of the season.
Matt Ford came to the Phantoms a couple weeks prior from the Hershey Bears in a trade for Kevin Marshall and has added some nice scoring punch on the right-wing side. He had a career-high 26 goals last season with Lake Erie and had scored 10 goals this year with the Hershey Bears prior to his acquisition by the Flyers organization.
Brandon Kozun would get racing in for the Monarchs on a long flip into the zone and would convert gong wide around Bacashihua for the only goal the Phantoms would allow on the night.
But shortly thereafter it would be Shane Harper capitalizing after Zolnierczyk went barging into the Manchester zone to throw in his body and win the puck in the corner. Harper's seventh of the season gave the Phantoms a 3-1 lead at the second break.
Adirondack entered the game with an impressive record of 16-1-1 in games in which they lead after two. And they removed all doubts of whether they would improve on that record early in the third as Garrett Roe and Matt Ford would score just 44 seconds apart in the opening three minutes of the period.
Garrett Roe's was nicely fed from behind the cage allowing the rookie out of St. Cloud State to slam in his seventh of the year on the left side of the slot.
Then it would be Matt Ford accepting a long feed forward from Denis Hamel that perfectly met him in the slot. Ford pushed the puck to his backhand to score around Zatkoff at 2:44 into the final period for the 5-1 lead which would go onto be the final.
The teams continued their big hitting and testiness for each other even in the closing minutes with the game mostly decided. Lauridsen dropped the gloves with Richard Clune of Manchester in an impressive fight stemming from an extended battle for the puck in the corner. Lauridsen got Clune tangled up in his jersey provoking the Monarchs agitator to throw it off and earning him a game misconduct while the crowd was perhaps at their noisiest and most raucous in a game filled with big moments.
Manchester outshot Adirondack 32-31 in the game. The Phantoms were 1-for-8 on the power play while the penalty-kill was solid holding the Monarchs to 0-for-6.
Adirondack improved to 23-24-3 overall this season and stands at 2-1 against Manchester with just one game remaining in the season rivalry, Sunday afternoon in New Hampshire.
Before the game, Adirondack received words that Erik Gustafsson was returning on loan from the Philadelphia Flyers, just one day after scoring his first NHL goal. Gustafsson was not in Glens Falls in time for the Friday night game but fans can expect him to be back in the Adirondack lineup for the first time since early January when the Phantoms hit the ice Saturday night at Bridgeport.
Andy Thomas and Tyler Hostetter were called up from Trenton of the ECHL to help fill the roster for Adirondack. Several Phantoms players were out for this one with various injuries including Oskars Bartulis and Blake Kessel as well as Matt Walker and Mike Testwuide.
Returning to the somewhat revolving lineup (lately) after missing Tuesday's game were Cullen Eddy, Matt Ford, Andrew Rowe and Tye McGinn.
Adirondack now hits the road for four straight including games at Bridgeport and Manchester on Saturday and Sunday.
Adirondack Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Merkosky was on-hand to drop the ceremonial first puck which was received by Denis Hamel. In December, Hamel passed Merkosky for 12th all-time on the AHL goal-scoring leaderboard when he notched his 316th career goal.
The South Glens Falls High Marathon Dance crew were on hand to perform before the game and during the intermissions. The annual marathon dance that has been ongoing for decades raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for area residents in need suffering from cancer and other illnesses. They hold their marathon dance n early March each year. They were also there to benefit from the Phantoms' 50/50 raffle and raise funds and more awareness for their great cause.
The Phantoms' next home game is next Sunday, February 26 against the Syracuse Crunch. Phantoms team posters will be given away to the first 3,000 fans courtesy of Glens Falls Printing and a post-game autograph session will follow the contest. Fans can take advantage of the great value of the Sunday Family 3-Pack featuring 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 hot dog and 1 program all for only $39. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355.
American Hockey League Stories from February 17, 2012
- Win Streak Comes to An End in Rochester - Lake Erie Monsters
- Stars Outlast Rampage 5-4 in Shootout - Texas Stars
- Rampage Fall to Stars in Shootout, 5-4 - San Antonio Rampage
- Manning with Gordie Howe Hat Trick - Adirondack Phantoms
- Special Teams Lead Admirals' Successful Drive for Five - Norfolk Admirals
- Falcons Fall to Whale 6-3 - Atkinson Scores AHL Leading 13th Power Play Goal - Springfield Falcons
- Pens Rout B-Sens, 6-1 - Binghamton Senators
- Slow Start Dooms Rivermen - Peoria Rivermen
- Amerks Power Past Monsters for 6-2 Win - Rochester Americans
- Seeing Ghosts - Manchester Monarchs
- Fast Start Helps Checkers Top Peoria - Charlotte Checkers
- Fast Start Helps Checkers Top Peoria - Charlotte Checkers
- P-Bruins Blank Bears 6-0 - Providence Bruins
- Whale beat Falcons 6-3 - Connecticut Whale
- Bulldogs Beat AHL-Leading IceCaps 4-3 - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Admirals Top Oklahoma City 5-3 - Milwaukee Admirals
- Special Teams Doom Crunch - Syracuse Crunch
- Hogs Dig out of Another Hole on the Road, Earn a Point in Toronto - Rockford IceHogs
- Bears Blanked by Bruins - Hershey Bears
- Penguins Open Weekend with Win Over Senators - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Islanders Recall Poulin - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Worcester Sharks to Host Online Jersey Auction to Benefit the Cup Crusaders - Worcester Sharks
- Ads Play Top Team in Conference this Weekend - Milwaukee Admirals
- Gameday Preview: San Antonio at Texas - Texas Stars
- Stars Name Steve Sherrill VP of Corporate Sales - Texas Stars
- Blake Geoffrion Traded by Nashville - Milwaukee Admirals
- "Bowling with the Dawgs" to Support Dawgs Breakfast Program - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Blackhawks Recall Hayes from Rockford, Assign Shaw - Rockford IceHogs
- Crunch Announces Details of Wegmans 'Grocery Bagging for a Cause' Program - Syracuse Crunch
- Mark Wotton Announces Retirement - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Dallas Stars Recall Ryan Garbutt from Texas Stars - Texas Stars
- Aeros Go for Record on Pink Sunday, Breast Cancer Awareeness Game - Houston Aeros
- Sound Tigers Loan Romano to Chicago Express - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Heat Vs Aeros Game Preview - Abbotsford Heat
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- Aeros Game Day, February 17: Aeros at Heat - Houston Aeros
- Griffins Go Purple for Cancer Research - Grand Rapids Griffins
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