November 23, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Adirondack Phantoms
Scott Munroe made several dazzling saves in preserving a one-goal margin for the duration of the third period and the Adirondack Phantoms were able to hang on for their second consecutive victory 2-1. he Norfolk Admirals on Black Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center. It was Adirondack's second straight victory giving them back-to-back wins with one more game to go on Saturday night in their Thanksgiving Feast Holiday Weekend of Hockey.
It didn't look like it was going to be such a nail-biter for much of the second period. After Sean Couturier and Rob Bordson scored back to back goals 49 seconds apart, Adirondack would keep Norfolk pinned back in their end for lengthy stretches. Close calls, big saves by Norfolk goalie Frederik Andersen, and a couple of tough bounces prevent the Phantoms from building in their lead. They outshot Norfolk in that dominating second period 19-5 but it was Norfolk's fifth shot that got them back into the game when Peter Holland capitalized on the power play with just 31 seconds left to give Norfolk some hope.
But none of that would matter thanks to Munroe who won on home-ice for the third time in a row with probably his best performance of the bunch as he made many of his most challenging saves in the third period. Munroe's fifth win of the season and 69th in the Phantoms organization pulls him to within two of Antero Nittymaki for second place all-time in franchise history. Neil Little had the most career wins with 177.
The Phantoms improved to 8-8-0 overall and also 4-2-0. They also scored the first goal for the third time in the last four games bringing forth rapid improvement in the quick-start department. Norfolk fell to 7-9-0 overall as the defending Calder Cup champions lost their fourth straight.
Head coach Terry Murray likes the opportunity at home for his team to get on a roll. "Carrying over is really important. You have to get on a stretch of games where you're playing consistently well," Murray said. "To develop individual confidence, to develop team confidence. The players talk about it, they're aware of it."
This isn't your typical defending-champions situation though as Norfolk lost their entire roster after an affiliation switch from Tampa Bay to Anaheim last summer. Norfolk's team this year is comprised of players who were on last year's Syracuse Crnuch squad including former Phantoms Patrick Maroon who drew the attention of the Section N Hecklers and the rest of the crowd all night long.
After a scoreless first period with some big hits but not as much in the way of big scoring chances, Adirondack would turn up the heat and blast away on the Admirals throughout the second period.
Sean Couturier scored on the power play for the second game in a row. He blasted a cross-ice feed by Erik Gustafsson early in the second period when it was 4-on-3 for his fifth of the year. The goal looked eerily similar to one scored by Brayden Schenn on Wednesday night with the pass coming across from Jason Akeson.
49 seconds later would be third-year pro Rob Bordson burning the organization that dealt him to the Flyers in November, 2010 as part of the trade for Patrick Maroon. The Duluth, Minnesota native made a nice fake in the right circle to convince everyone in the building he was ready to fire away. But instead, he stopped short and dangled with the puck over to the slot for a better opening to roof his first goal of the season past Andersen and make it 2-0.
Following that, it was bombs away for the Phantoms. So many close calls including Ben Holmstrom on a slow-rolling rebound hitting the post quickly followed by Brayden Schenn just missing an open opportunity when his backhander didn't quite hit the puck squarely and instead lifted it high. Several other close calls and long stretches of possession in the Norfolk zone made the game feel like it was a blowout. But the game was still tight at 2-0 as Norfolk barely hung on over and over again.
"The second period is an important time in the game," Murray said, "Because the way the benches are set up, it's a long line change and if you're playing hard and can spend a lot of time in their end you can take advantage of it."
Then the late opening in the period on a Tye McGinn penalty gave the Admirals their chance and 2009 first-rounder Peter Holland scored his ninth of the year with just 31 seconds to go in the frame to quickly turn the tables on the momentum-scale and give Norfolk a big boost back to the locker room.
The Phantoms had dominated with a 19-5 shot disparity in the period but were just clinging to a one goal lead.
Munroe made his big stops primarily in the opening minutes of the third when Norfolk got their surge. They outshot the Phantoms 12-5 in the final period but Adirondack was able to hang on, block a few other big shots, push away loose pucks on scrambles in front, and grind out a nice win.
Both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play. Adirondack is now 8-1 in games in which they score a power play goal. The Phantoms outshot Norfolk 31-26 and are now 5-3 in games in which they outshoot the opposition. most important is the scoring-first stat; Adirondack is 3-1 when they score the first goal.
The Phantoms look to make it three-for-three on Saturday night against Hershey at 7:00.
It is Men's Cancer Awareness Night with special mustache jerseys, a post-game jersey auction, and a pre-game youth jersey giveaway for the first 1,000 kids in attendance.