December 30, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Adirondack Phantoms
ALBANY, NY - All-Star center Jon Matsumoto had a goal and two assists to lead the Adirondack Phantoms to a 4-2 win over the Albany River Rats Wednesday night at the Times Union Center in Round Five of the Time Warner Cable Cup series.
The game got off to an ugly start as just 3:23 after the opening face off Patrick Maroon was hit from behind by Nicolas Blanchard after play had stopped; Maroon was taken off the ice on a stretcher and Blanchard was given a five-minute major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct. Adirondack made Albany pay immediately and Jon Matsumoto found rookie defenseman Joonas Lehtivuori all along at the far post for an open net tap-in power play goal at 3:33, just ten seconds after the penalty began. The goal was Lehtivuori\'s first career professional goal and was assisted by Matsumoto and Andreas Nodl. River Rats rookie Zach Boychuk answered back at the midway point of the first period by skating free down the right wing and firing a wrist shot from the right wing around goaltender Johan Backlund and into the bottom left corner of the net at 10:39. Overall in the period Adirondack out-shot Albany 18-9.
The Phantoms continued to out-shoot the River Rats in a closely fought second period. Both teams were looking to nose out in front and David Laliberte was the one to get the job done. Laliberte took a pass from Matsumoto in the low slot and in one motion he spun around and fired the puck through the pads of Albany goaltender Justin Peters at 15:03 to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead. With one minute left in the period, and Adirondack already on the power play, River Rats defenseman Zack FitzGerald took a delay of game penalty by clearing the puck from his defensive zone into the seats to give the Phantoms a two-man advantage. It took just 17 seconds for the Phantoms to cash in as defenseman Joey Mormina blasted home a power play goal, his second goal of the year, assisted by Lehtivuori and Laliberte. Adirondack out-shot the Rats 14-6 in the frame, 32-15 overall, and carried a 3-1 lead into the third period.
The Phantoms defended their lead well in the final stanza, limiting the River Rats shots on Backlund. However, with just over two minutes left in the game Mike Angelidis tipped in a shot from Zach Boychuk to cut Adirondack\'s lead to 3-2 at 17:59. Phantoms All-Star center Jon Matsumoto was not going to let Albany spoil the night as he scored an empty net goal with 29 seconds left, his 14th goal of the season, to seal a 4-2 Adirondack win, their first win in the 2009-2010 Time Warner Cable Cup series.
Goaltender Johan Backlund won his third straight start by stopping 17-of-19 shots as the Phantoms improved to 15-14-2-0 on the year. Justin Peters took the loss in goal for Albany, making 38 saves on 41 shots as the River Rats fell to 18-14-1-2. Adirondack out-shot Albany 42-19 in the game and scored twice on the power play; the River Rats did not score a power play goal in the game.
Adirondack now returns home for the second half of their home-and-home series with the Albany River Rats on Thursday, December 31st for a special 3:00 pm face off; Round Six of the Time Warner Cable Cup series at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
There is no better way to watch Phantoms Hockey than by sharing it with a group of your family and friends. Bring a group of 15 or more people to the Glens Falls Civic Center and qualify for incredible discounted ticket prices off the regular box office rates. For more information about group tickets, contact the Phantoms at 518-480-3355 or visit www.phantomshockey.com.