December 27, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Adirondack Phantoms
The Phantoms return from the AHL holiday break and close out the 2012 part of the schedule with three games this week including the traditional New Year's Eve home game at the Glens Falls Civic Center among the two home tilts.
First up, the Adirondack Phantoms host Providence on Friday night in the only appearance of the season for the Baby Bruins. $2 Draft Beer Specials are back for the Friday game.
Saturday, it's off to Lewiston, Maine for a game against the Portland Pirates. Lewiston used to have a team in the QMJHL up until a couple years ago and the Portland Pirates are keeping the hockey tradition there alive by playing six of their home games in their alternative venue at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Then it's New Year's Eve fun on Monday afternoon against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Adirondack professional hockey teams have been playing home games on New Year's Eve for decades and the tradition is back for this season too.
The Phantoms will be looking extra dapper and snazzy in their specialty bright orange Tuxedo Jerseys presented by Scoville Jewelers and the Wait House of Glens Falls who will receive part of the proceeds from the post-game jersey auction. Get ready to bid! And you can end 2012 with your very own game-worn Phantoms specialty jersey from the New Year's Eve game.
Phantoms Fun Bus
The next Phantoms Fun Bus is scheduled for Saturday, January 19 for the team's trip to Worcester, Mass. against the Sharks at the DCU Center. Special thanks to team bus driver Craig LaFave and Upstate Tours for helping organize these fun events. The last Fun Bus trip on December 9 to the Providence Bruins was packed!
$58 gets you a seat on the Fun Bus and a ticket to the game. Bus departs from South Glens Falls at 2:00 PM.
Space is limited and seats will go quickly. Sign up in the front lobby at upcoming Adirondack Phantoms home games or contact Craig LaFave at 518-378-9533.
Phantoms Week in Review
Wednesday, December 19 - Adirondack Phantoms 3 - St. John's IceCaps 2
On Pucks and Paws Night at the Glens Falls Civic Center, Adirondack gained the early lead on a power play goal by Brandon "Man-Dog" Manning and then never trailed on their way to a 3-2 win over the affiliates of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Phantoms almost had a much bigger lead than 1-0 in the first period but St. John's goalie Eddie Pasquale was terrific in keeping his team in the game with 17 scintillating saves on 18 shots.
Sean Couturier assisted for Eric Wellwood in the second period to give the Phantoms the lead again. And Brayden Schenn's team-leading 12th of the season early in the third period would break a 2-2 tie and Adirondack would close it out from there.
Sean Couturier had scored an empty-netter at the end of the game as well but the puck crossed the line an instant after the buzzer had sounded for the end of the game.
Scott Munroe made 23 saves on 25 for the victory which was his 72nd all-time as a Phantom moving him past Antero Nittymaki for sole possession of second place in franchise history (trailing only Neil Little, 177 wins).
Adirondack played without Zac Rinaldo and Shane Harper who both had flu-like symptoms but the rest of the team picked up the slack including Zack FitzGerald who got into an early fight with St. John's tough-guy Ryan Schnell to provide an early spark to the evening.
Friday, December 19 - Adirondack Phantoms 4 - Syracuse Crunch 3 (SO)
The Phantoms raced out to their largest first period advantage of the srason with a 3-0 lead at first-pace Syracuse in the opening 20 minutes. From there, it was a long and arduous battle to the finish line to eventually grind out a 4-3 victory following a seven-round shootout.
Harry Zolnierczyk struck first and then Jason Akeson potted his first two goals of the season.
But the highest scoring team in the AHL would not go down quietly and they threw everything they had into a frantic and seemingly endless attack in the Phantoms zone. The Crunch struck twice after a 21-shot barrage in the second period and then were able to finally tie the game with a 5-on-3 goal in the third period following multiple dazzling stops by Phantoms net-minder Cal Heeter.
Adirondack would get outshot 43-23 in the 65 minutes of hockey and dodged a bullet when the Crunch hit the post in overtime. But the Phantoms came through in the clutch including a four-goal outburst in the seven rounds of the shootout. Garrett Roe, Brayden Schenn, Jason Akeson and Danny Syvret all lit the lamp with Syvret's goal in the seventh holding up as the game-winner after Heeter denied reigning league MVP Cory Conacher on the Syracuse half of the seventh round.
The Phantoms improved to 3-3-0 against the Crunch this season who won the league championship last year operating as the Norfolk Admirals. All three of Adirondack's wins against Syracuse have come in either overtime or shootouts. The Phantoms have no overtime or shootout wins against any other team.
It was the third weekend in a row for Adirondack and Syracuse to meet with the Phantoms taking two out of those three. But it will be a little while before the Phantoms and Crunch hook up to close out the season series. They will play a home-and-home weekend set on February 8 and 10.
Saturday, December 22 - Adirondack Phantoms 3 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2
The Phantoms again built a 3-0 lead on the road although this time it would be accomplished a bit more gradually. Sean Couturier had a hand in all three Phantoms tallies as he would score in the first and then assist on goals by Matthew Ford and Eric Wellwood in the second and third periods.
Bridgeport would storm back late with a pair of goals just 27 seconds apart with under seven minutes remaining against former Sound Tiger Scott Munroe but the Phantoms would eventually hang on at the end for the win.
Couturier's goal in the first period was a bank-shot from the right-wing corner off the stick of defenseman Aaron Ness. His slap-pass to the slot for Ford would be nicely chopped in past Bridgeport goalie Anders Nillson for Ford's first goal of the season. And his wrap-around attempt would rebound out to Wellwood on the back-door for the second time this week he was able to set him up for a goal.
Munroe had a bid for his 20th career AHL shutout for the first 53 minutes of the game and made a number of great saves including a couple of point-blank and breakaway stops.
Adirondack took a 2-0 lead in the season series over the Sound Tigers.
An emotional night in Bridgeport featured the Sound Tigers players wearing the names of the fallen children from the December 14 Newport, Conn. tragedy instead of their own. Bridgeport is only 19 miles from Newport.
The Phantoms current three-game win streak equals their longest of the 2012-13 season which they also accomplished November 21 through 24.
The last time Adirondack won four straight was November 25, 2011 through December 2, 2011 which was also the team's longest last year. Four is also the longest win-streak in Adirondack Phantoms history having happened two other times (December 31, 2010 through January 5, 2011 and then again April 1, 2011 through April 6, 2011).
Saratoga Spine Phantoms Player of the Week - Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier is the Saratoga Spine Player of the Week.
The 20 year old center had six points in the Phantoms three-game win streak last week with one goal and five assists. He capped the week with a three-point performance at Bridgeport on Saturday as he played a hand in all three Phantoms goals.
Couturier is second on the Phantoms in scoring with eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points. The second-year pro is also the youngest of the Phantoms having turned 20 earlier this month.
Last year with the Philadelphia Flyers, Couturier scored 13 goals in his NHL rookie season and then built on that in the playoffs with a hat trick on April 13 against Pittsburgh becoming the second-youngest player to record three goals in an NHL playoff game.
The Bathurst, New Brunswick native is the son of Sylvain Couturier who played with the Adirondack Red Wings for 29 games in 1991-92 scoring 19 goals just a few months after Sean was born. Those games with the Red Wings at the Glens Falls Civic Center were the first that baby Sean had attended in person.
Schenn Among League Leaders
Brayden Schenn ranks sixth in the AHL and third in the Eastern Conference in points entering this week. His 12 goals and 17 assists give him 29 points on the season placing him just one point behind a three-way tie for third in the league with fellow sophomores Tyler Johnson (Syracuse) and Cam Atkinson (Springfield) tangled in there with veteran Keith Aucoin (Toronto). A pair of Oklahoma City players are way ahead of the pack as Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz have 40 points apiece.
The more you shoot, the more you can score. And Schenn has displayed his belief in that philosophy with 103 shots this season, second in the AHL behind only Ben Street of Abbotsford.
Drop the Gloves!
It's not just a couple of tough-guys taking care of business when the situation calls for it. 17 different Adirondack Phantoms players have received at least one fighting major this year. That is believed to be the highest total number of players dropping the gloves of any AHL team.
Phantoms who have received fighting majors this year have included:
Akeson, Bourdon, Brown, Dimmen, Eddy, FitzGerald, Gustafsson, Harper, Holmstrom, Lauridsen, Manning, McGinn, Rinaldo, Roe, Schenn, Rinaldo, Testwuide,
Scott Munroe was a standout goalie for the Phialdelphia Phantoms from 2006-09. And now the University of Alabama-Huntsville product back with the Adirondack Phantoms in 2012-13 to add to his impressive totals. On December 19 vs. St. John's he earned his 72nd career win as a Phantom to pass Antero Nittymaki for second place all-time in franchise history. Neil Little holds the all-time record with 177 wins. Munroe also eclipsed the 4,000 save milestone in a Phantoms jersey earlier this season. On December 9, he recorded his 6,000th career save in the AHL late in the third period against Providence.
Key Team Stats
- The Phantoms are 6-1-0 when leading after two periods. They are 6-3-0 when tied after two.
- Adirondack is 11-4-1 when they score at least one power play goal. The Phantoms are 2-10-0 when they do not score a PPG.
- The Phantoms are 10-1-0 when they score 3 or more goals
- The Phantoms are 10-6-1 on all "non-Fridays."
- The Phantoms are 1-1 in overtimes and are 2-0 in shootouts for a combined 3-1 in games decided after regulation. All three of those post-regulation wins have come against Syracuse.
- 6 of the Phantoms wins have come when they have held the opponents to 0 or 1 goals.
Providence Bruins, 15-10-2 (Boston Bruins)
It's the only visit to Glens Falls for the Baby Bruins. Adirondack lost a tough overtime decision in Providence 3-2 on December 9. Jeff Dimmen had tied the score at 2-2 with his first goal as a Phantom but Kyle MacKinnon notched the game-winner in overtime.
Providence had an eight-game point streak from November 30 through December 15 and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
Record - 15-10-2
Division - 2nd place (Atlantic Division)
Home Arena - Dunkin Donuts Center
Head Coach - Bruce Cassidy
Offense - 2.5, 23rd (out of 30)
Defense - 2.8, 14th
Power Play - 16.5%, 16th
Penalty Kill - 80.0%, 28th
Chris Bourque - 5-18-23. Son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and older brother of Connecticut Whale Ryan Bourque. Long-time Hershey Bears left wing since 2005-06. Led the AHL in points (93) and assists (66) last year. Five times 20+ goals in AHL including 27 last year with Hershey. #33 overall, round 2, 2004 draft by Washington.
Ryan Spooner - 6-10-16 this season. #45 overall, Round 2, 2010 draft.
Jamie Tardif - 15-5-20. Had two goals on December 9 vs. ADK and then scored a hat trick in very next game December 14 vs. Springfield. Leads P-Bruins in goals. AHL veteran played for Grand Rapids from 2006-07 through 2010-11. Career-high 27 goals with Griffins in 2010-11. Second season with Bruins.
Christian Hanson - 4-5-9. Born in Glens Falls. Son of Dave Hanson who played for the Adirondack Red Wings from 1980-82 and is most famous for his role as Jack Hanson in the movie classic Slap Shot.
Niklas Svedberg - 11-5-1, 2.53, .916. 23-year-old from Sweden in his rookie season in North America.
Bruce Cassidy - 2nd season as head coach of Providence after three years as assistant coach. Head coach of Washington Capitals 2002-03 and beginning of 2003-04. Also was head coach of Grand Rapids (AHL) and Kingston (OHL). First round selection (18th overall) of Chicago in 1993. Playing career mostly with Indianapolis and Saginaw of IHL.
Portland Pirates, 16-11-2 (Phoenix Coyotes)
Adirondack and Portland are meeting for the first time since Opening Night when the Phantoms came away with a 6-3 win on October 13 behind Brayden Schenn's two goals.
The game on Saturday night will be played in Lewiston, Maine instead of Portland. The Pirates are playing six of their home game this year at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee at their anternative venue to keep the hockey tradition alive in the former home of the now defunct Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. This is the fifth of their six games in that building. Lewiston is about 35 miles north of Portland.
The Pirates were on a seven-game win streak and were the hottest team in the league as they vaulted into the top spot in their division. The streak was halted last Saturday in a 5-3 loss at Manchester.
Record - 16-11-2
Division - 1st Place (Atlantic Division)
Arena - Androscoggin Bank Colisee
Head Coach - Ray Edwards (2nd Season)
Offense - 3.0, 13th (out of 30)
Defense - 3.1, 24th
Power Play - 15.5%, 20th
Penalty Kill - 83.3%, 14th
Alexandre Bolduc - 14-14-28. Leading scorer on Pirates. AHL vet since 2005 with Manitoba. 48 NHL games with Vancouver and Phoenix.
Andy Miele - 9-14-23. Second-year pro out of Miami (Ohio) University. Won Hobey Baker Awad as top player in college hockey in 2010-11 with 2447-71 in only 39 games. Scored 16 goals last year with Portland as a rookie and played in 7 games with PHX.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - 7-14-21. Swedish defenseman was #6 overall selection in 2009 draft...right after Brayden Schenn was chosen #5 overall by Los Angeles. Played in every game for Phoenix in 2011-12 in second season as a pro with 13 goals in regular season and one more on team's run to Western Conference Finals.
David Rundblad - 6-12-18. Swedish defenseman drafted 17th overall by St. Louis in 2009. 2011-12 played 30 games in NHL with Ottawa and Phoenix and 30 games in AHL with Portland.
Brett Hextall - 5-1-6. Second-year pro from University of North Dakota is the son of former Flyers goaltending great Ron Hextall. Fourth generation hockey pro in the famous Hextall family. Great-grandfather Brian Hextall played for NY Rangers from 1936-48 and also played one season with AHL Philadelphia Ramblers in 1936-37.
Chad Johnson - 10-6-0, 2.80, .912. Played with Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack last three seasons out of University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Last year, 22-18-6, 2.49, 919 with CT.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 13-12-3 (New York Islanders)
Adirondack is 2-0 against Bridgeport this year after a 3-2 victory at Webster Bank Arena last Saturday. The Phantoms and Sound Tigers will meet a total of six times this year. Bridgeport's only visit to Glens Falls this season was a 5-1 setback on November 21.
The Sound Tigers team have been especially streaky this season. They began with a 10-4-0 record. Then they proceeded to drop eight in a row in a streak that began in Glens Falls with a 5-1 loss on November 21. But after they strung together a five-game point streak before it was halted by the Phantoms.
Record - 13-12-3
Division - Northeast, Second Place
Home Arena - Webster Bank Arena
Head Coach - Scott Pellerin
Offense - 3.0 goals per game, 11th (out of 30)
Defense - 3.4, 29th
Power Play - 15.4%, 20th
Penalty Kill - 85.7%, 7th
Head Coach Scott Pellerin - 1992 Hobey Baker Award winner from the University of Maine might be remembered by long-time fans in the area when he played for the Albany River Rats for three seasons including on their Calder Cup Championship team in 1995. He also played in 536 career NHL games mostly with New Jersey and St. Louis. In first season as AHL head coach after serving as an assistant coach with Manchester for six years.
Nino Niederreiter - 13-14-27. 6th in AHL in goals and 4th in points. 19 year old Swiss prospect. 5th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft while Adirondack's Brayden Schenn was the fifth overall selection in the 2009 draft (by the Los Angeles Kings). 55 games with Islanders last year scoring 1 goal. 41 goals with Portland (WHL) in 2010-11.
Brock Nelson, 11-11-22. Another 2010 first-rounder (30th overall). Joined the team last season out of the University of North Dakota.
Aaron Ness, 0-12-12. In second full season with Bridgeport. Second-round pick in 2008 out of the University of Minnesota.
Colin McDonald - 4-16-20. Captain of the Sound Tigers. AHL veteran since 2007-08 with Springfield. Played at Providence College.
Kevin Poulin, 7-5-2, 3.22, .904. Round 5, 2008 (Victoriaville, QMJHL). 22 year old from Montreal who had solid numbers in first full AHL season (after sporadic time in 2010-11 with BRI and NYI. Last year, 26-18-4, 2.79, .912. Had three straight shutouts in January, 2012 with 221:54 shutout streak which is now third-longest in AHL history (Barry Brust, Abbotsford 2012 and Johnny Bower, Cleveland 1957)
Anders Nilsson, 6-7-0, 3.03, .895. Lost to Phantoms on December 22 allowing 3 goals on just 18 shots. Big 6'5" 22-year-old from Sweden. 2nd season in North America. Last year was 15-8-2, 2.42, .921. Posted a spectacular 37-save effort in 2-1 win at Adirondack on January 21, 2012.
Friday, December 28 (7:00) - Providence Bruins at Adirondack Phantoms. Only Glens Falls appearance for the "Baby Bruins." $2 Draft Beer Specials.
Saturday, December 29 (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Portland Pirates (at Lewiston, Maine).
Monday, December 31 (3:00) - Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms. Traditional New Year's Eve Game in Glens Falls. Specialty Orange Tuxedo Jerseys. Post-Game Jersey Auction with the players live after the game.
Friday, January 4 (7:00) - Adirondack Phantoms at Connecticut Whale
Saturday, January 5 (7:00) - Connecticut Whale at Adirondack Phantoms. Phantoms drawstring backpacks for the first 1,000 kids in attendance presented by UniFirst.
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