Overtime Thriller Extends Win Streak to FourMarch 3, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) Adirondack Phantoms
Matt Ford's seventh goal since joining the Phantoms was an overtime winner at the Albany Devils Saturday night to cap a come-from-behind 3-2 win at their Northway rivals while extending the team's winning streak to four games in a row.
Shane Harper had tied the game with seven minutes left in the third period to give the Phantoms the opportunity to pull out the exciting road victory. Michael Leighton made some more fantastic saves for the Phantoms in out-dueling Albany rookie Keith Kinkaid for the decision. Featured among his stops was an overtime kick-save with the right leg to deny a shooter on the backdoor on what at first look seemed certain to be the overtime game-winner for the Devils.
Leighton was again returning to a building where he had plenty of success before, having won AHL Goalie of the Year honors in 2007-08 as the goaltender for the Albany River Rats.
The Phantoms had to grind out this one without the services of some of their key players. Eric Wellwood was recalled by Philadelphia and Erik Gustafsson was on his way to the team presumably for a recall as well. And the team's captain, Ben Holmstrom, missed his second game with injury. But head coach Joe Paterson has frequently spoken of guys successfully stepping in and fulfilling those roles and his team was able to pull out a hard win over a good Albany squad that had won eight of their last 11 entering the night's action.
The win vaults the Phantoms past three teams in the Eastern Conference standings in just one night and leaves them just two points out of eighth place and the Calder Cup P invitation that comes with that position.
It was Adirondack's fifth overtime win this season, but their first on the road. However, the noise of the Phantoms fans who traveled down to invade the arena of the Time Warner Cable Cup rivals could be heard roaring throughout the building as if it were a home game.
Matt Ford joins a growing list of Phantoms with overtime winning goals this season. Shane Harper, Mike Testwuide, Ben Holmstrom and Jon Kalinski have all notched extra-session game-winners for the Black and Orange. Ford's overtime goal was the first for Adirondack since the Outdoor Classic thriller that Harper scored on January 6 against the Hershey Bears in front of over 45,000 fans in Philadelphia.
The Phantoms improved to 5-2 in overtime games this year with three of those wins coming against the Albany Devils. This was Adirondack's first overtime win in an away game. It was also Adirondack's first win this season at the Times Union Center and gives the Phantoms the lead in the Time Warner Cable Cup Series four games to three with still three games remaining in the 2011-12 area rivalry.
The Phantoms now have seven points in their last nine games and also have won four of their last five away contests to culminate a difficult stretch in which the team played nine out of 11 away from the Glens Falls Civic Center. Adirondack survived and ended up thriving in perhaps the most difficult portion of the schedule as they now enter a three-game home stand back in the North Country.
Nathan Perkovich gave the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first period as he pounced on a rebound of a Kory Nagy shot.
Adirondack tied the score early in the second period as Harry Zolnierczyk chopped down a puck in the corner and dished to Shane Harper who deked out a defenseman on his way to the slot and then shot low and across the grain on Kinkaid for the tying tally. Harper was cutting through from left to right and got Kinkaid to move with him and then shot back off the base of the left-wing post and in for his 10th of the year.
A few minutes later, Eric Gelinas would put the Devils back in the lead with a monster slapshot from center point blasted off the underside of the crossbar. Albany led 2-1 at the second intermission.
Adirondack was given a power play opportunity in the third period and with less than 7:00 left in regulation, the Phantoms would rush in for the tying goal. A clear down by Albany had the Phantoms starting back in their own end. Jason Akeson accepted the give from Michael Leighton and hustled back up ice and then saw a speeding Zolnierczyk up the left-wing wall. Akeson's long pass hit Zolnierczyk perfectly on the tape and he cruised ahead of the Albany defender along the board to blast a high slapshot off Kinkaid's shoulder. The drive handcuffed the Devils netminder allowing Harper to get in there and win the race for the puck shortly before he would go flying over the sprawled Albany goalie.
Harper's second goal of the game and 11th of the season tied the score at 2-2 with 6:47 remaining.
Onto overtime the game would go with Adirondack carrying a minute of carry-over power play time from a Devils penalty late in the third period. It looked like Denis Hamel was about to give the Phantoms the win, but his big one-timer from the right circle found the pipe and bounced out.
Then it was Albany's turn to go on the overtime power play after a Matt Ford slashing penalty in the offensive zone. A cross-ice feed towards Joe Whitney on the left-wing looked like it was going to end matters again but Leighton responded more quickly than anyone in the Times Union Center expected and somehow came through with the big kick save over to his right to keep the game tied.
Matt Ford sprung out of the penalty box and was met right o the tape by Garrett Roe. Ford dropped to his trailer, Brandon Manning, who got it back to Ford to score the overtime winner through Kinkaid from the right circle.
The Phantoms' four-game win streak equals the team's longest this season. Adirondack also won four in a row from November 25 through December 2.
Adirondack returns home on Sunday afternoon for the first of three straight at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Sunday's 3:00 contest against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is Dax's Kids Club Day featuring an appearance by Scooby Doo. Fans can take advantage of the tremendous value offered in the Sunday Family 3-Pack for only $39; 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 large popcorn and 1 program. Call the Phantoms to purchase yours at 518-480-3355.
American Hockey League Stories from March 3, 2012
- Admirals Tame Wolves 6-0 - Milwaukee Admirals
- Rivermen Can't Hold off IceHogs - Peoria Rivermen
- Griffins Make It Five in a Row - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Wolves Blanked by Admirals, 6-0 - Chicago Wolves
- Hogs Earn Another Come-From-Behind Win on the Road - Rockford IceHogs
- Dan Sexton's Hat Trick Lifts Crunch - Syracuse Crunch
- Conner Recalled by Detroit - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Aeros lose 2-1 - Houston Aeros
- Overtime Thriller Extends Win Streak to Four - Adirondack Phantoms
- Strong Start Propels Admirals to 12th Straight Win - Norfolk Admirals
- Monsters Top Checkers in Shootout - Charlotte Checkers
- Hurricanes Reassign Boychuk to Charlotte - Charlotte Checkers
- Canadiens Reassign Engqvist to Bulldogs - Hamilton Bulldogs
- P-Bruins Fall to Sharks - Providence Bruins
- Holtby, Bears Blank Binghamton - Hershey Bears
- Whale Name Wade Redden Team Captain - Connecticut Whale
- Sharks Ride Three Goal First Period to 5-2 Victory Over Bruins - Worcester Sharks
- Amerks Defeat Toronto Marlies 2-1 - Rochester Americans
- Flames Assign Irving to Heat - Abbotsford Heat
- Bruins Recall Hutchinson, Macdermid on Emergency Basis - Providence Bruins
- Aeros Game Day, March 3: Aeros at Rampage - Houston Aeros
- Pirates Acquire Sterling from Peoria - Portland Pirates
- Panthers Recall Strachan from Rampage - San Antonio Rampage
- Rivermen Acquire Patrick O'Sullivan from Portland - Peoria Rivermen
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