February 1, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Adirondack Phantoms
Rob Bordson notched a pair of nice goals and Matt Mangene scored his first as a pro to lead the Adirondack Phantoms to a 5-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in the team's first game back from the All-Star Break.
Shane Harper's empty-netter on his 24th birthday and Jason Akeson's 7th of the year were the other goals on the night for the Phantoms who scored 5 at home for the first time since November 21 against Bridgeport.
Brian Boucher earned #1 Star of the Game honors with a splendid performance in net turning away 27 of the 29 shots he faced as the 36-year-old veteran picked up his first win in Glens Falls in almost 14 years. Boucher's last win at the GFCC came on March 12, 1999 for the Philadelphia Phantoms against the Adirondack Red Wings. Coincidentally, the final score in that game was the same; 5-2.
Two of Adirondack's goals came on the power play which stayed red-hot. The Phantoms have power play tallies in seven straight games with a total of 11 man-advantage goals in that stretch going 11/34, 32.4%. In their last four games, the Phantoms have eight PPG's going 8/21, 38.1%.
The results on the power play are coming due to a determined focus in that area by the team. "Yeah, just shooting the puck. That's been different," said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. "We haven't shot the puck very much this year on the power play. I think sometimes you get on the power play, you try to pass the puck into the net and that's hard to do. So just getting pucks through with traffic is a basic concept but it works a lot of the time."
But the penalty-kill might have been an even more important factor in the game as the Phantoms held Norfolk to 1-for-7 including several key and late kills.
The final score may indicate that Adirondack won this contest running away but that was anything but the case. The game was tied at 2-2 after two periods and a few minutes into the third when Akeson broke the deadlock. Bordson' goal with about five minutes left followed by Shane Harper's empty-netter a couple minutes later finally sealed the victory in the tight contest.
Mangene started the scoring in the first period with his nice deflection of an Erik Gustafsson slapper from the left-point on the power play. It was his first goal as a pro. Mangene is usually no stranger to scoring, the speedy winger from the University of Maine had 16 goals last year for the Black Bears.
"The play before that we tried the same play at it got blocked," Mangene said. "Gus found my stick perfectly and I was able to re-direct it past the goalie. It's been a long time coming. Last couple of games I've had a lot of chances and they just haven't been going in. It feels good to get the monkey off my back and hopefully they come in bunches now."
Adirondack thought they had taken a 2-0 advantage in the second period when Akeson knocked in the rebound of a David Laliberte right-wing shot that was dropped by rookie goalie Igor Bobkov. But the officials waved-off the goal following video-review upon determining the puck had been kicked in.
For Rob Bordson's two goals, he had to pick himself up from a bad mistake that led to a tying goal for Norfolk. His giveaway in the Phantoms' zone on the Norfolk power play led to a 3-on-0 rush on Boucher. Peter Holland's initial shot was denied off the glove of Boucher on a fantastic save but Luca Caputi corralled the rebound and dished back to Holland who was able to bury his second try and tie the score at 1-1.
Bordson's teammate was there to pick him up after the mistake and also forecast the turnaround to come. Line-mate Shane Harper said, "I told him right afterward, 'Bordo, don't worry about it. We're gonna go get one.' And I think the next shift we went out and got one. I think that'll help anybody if you have a little mistake like that. To come back strong is pretty big."
And coming back strong quickly is exactly what the Phantoms did. Shane Harper won the puck along the boards from Holland and then finding Bordson who stepped over and fired a perfect shot past Bobkov to give Adirondack the lead again at 2-1.
That lead lasted for only 25 seconds as Dan Sexton spun in the slot and slid one past Boucher to tie the score at 2-2 at the second break.
Early in the third period, Jason Akeson fired a power-play shot from center point for his 7th goal of the season to give the Phantoms a 3-2 lead.
Jason Akeson's goal was assisted by Danny Syvret for his 99th career assist with the Phantoms franchise. He is set to become the 9th player all-time in Phantoms' history to reach 100 assists.
Boucher made a couple of big saves to preserve the lead and Adirondack was finally to break through and distance themselves from the visitors with a 4-on-4 goal with just 5:46 remaining. Rob Bordson rushed up the right-wing on a 2-on-1 and took the shot himself. Again, it was a perfectly placed blast for the third-year pro from Duluth, Minnesota and it gave Adirondack a 4-2 lead.
Harper was able to rush up the right-wing and make a nice sharp-angle shot from the boards into the empty-net to finish the victory for the Phantoms.