Akey in OT
Jason Akeson came through in the clutch and continued his trend of burning the Connecticut Whale. This time, it was an overtime game-winner from the high-slot in a 4-3 thriller on Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Akeson's second goal of the game was also his team-leading 19th of the season capping an entertaining evening involving one of the most entertaining games of the season.
18-year-old prospect Scott Laughton scored his first professional goal in his second game with the Phantoms. And Rob Bordson notched his 10th of the year and dished out two assists as well.
Dan Miner Bobbleheads for the first 2,500 fans in attendance brought the fans out early. And Christian rock band The Wrecking kept some of them late with the post-game concert. And in-between the fans were treated to a wild and exciting hockey game in which Adirondack improved to 4-1-1 against the affiliate of the New York Rangers.
For entertainment value, this one perhaps rivaled Connecticut's last visit to the Glens Falls Civic Center on March 9 in which Adirondack came back from a late 3-1 deficit and Akeson's game-winner with 2:48 remaining capped his first career hat-trick.
The Whale are undoubtedly impressed and also likely somewhat annoyed at the talents of Jason Akeson as they have witnessed seven of his total 19 goals scored this year.
"I kind of laid it there for (Syvret) and he made a great play and touched it right back to me," Akeson said of his overtime winner. "There guys were all confused and I had a lot of time and walked in and put it home."
Scott Laughton's pick off in the neutral-zone set him up for a blast from the right circle for a shorthanded goal marking the 18-year-old's first as a pro. It was his second with the Phantoms and seventh all-time professionally having also played in five games in the NHL with Philadelphia in January before heading back to Major Juniors.
"I (stole) a pass and I just tried to get the puck on net and shot it and I think it hit the D-Man's stick and it changed direction on the goalie and I got a little bit lucky," Laughton said.
Laughton has been able to make an immediate impact on the Phantoms' scene in his first two games with his new team and linemates. He's not unfamiliar with Tye McGinn though having been in Philadelphia with him in January for a little bit. And back on his Major Juniors team he was with another McGinn!
"We were together for two games," Laughton said of Philadelphia time with Tye McGinn. "I played with his younger brother (Brock) and we're the same age. I've known him for quite awhile and it was kind of nice to play together up there and it's nice to play with him down here too."
Earlier in the period, Zack FitzGerald and Dylan Mcilrath provided one of the best heavyweight bouts of the year with both big bruisers landing several solid shots. The fight continued after the officials tried to intercede in the altercation providing additional 10-minute misconducts as well as the five-minute fighting majors. For "Fitzy", the fight marked his 1,500th career penalty minute in professional hockey.
Rob Bordson similarly took advantage of a Whale turnover early in the second period and powered a blast through Whale netminder Cameron Talbot to push the Phantoms' lead to 2-0.
Then it was Connecticut's turn to surge as they would score the next three straight to take the lead. It started wth back-to-back goals about 30 seconds apart with a fight between Derek Mathers and Stu Bickel of the Whale in-between.
Rookie Marek Hrivik scored past Heeter to get Connecticut on the board. After the fight but only 30 seconds later in game-time, Benn Ferriero appeared to bank one from behind the goal in the corner off the shoulder or upper-back of Cal Heeter and pinballed it into the cage to tie the score at 2-2.
Brandon Mashinter deflected a point-shot later in the period giving Connecticut a 3-2 lead.
But Adirondack would speed forward for another shortie with Rob Bordson tracking down a Jason Akeson chip into the corner and firing a quick centering pass that appeared to perhaps bounce off Talbot and then definitely deflected off Akeson's leg and into the goal to tie the score at 3-3.
Both teams had other big tries throughout the entertaining second period. Connecticut hit the post twice. Adirondack thought they had scored another goal on a shot by Brandon Manning that the Phantoms believed may have gone through the net. The officials looked at that one on video-review but deemed it to be no goal.
The score stayed 3-3 throughout more exciting back-and-forth and physical hockey in the third period. Adirondack had a 4-on-3 power play midway through the third period and then were given another gift with four minutes remaining when the Whale were tagged for too many men. But the Phantoms were unable to convert.
Scott Laughton had a chance to win it in overtime but was denied on a fine glove-save by Cameron Talbot. Heeter made a couple big stops too.
Then Rob Bordson and Jason Akeson got moving into the zone with Bordson getting in front to try to screen Talbot. Akeson and Syvret moved around and did a little give-and-go with Akeson eventually taking it to the high slot to snap home the game-winner glove-side on Talbot and spark the big Saturday celebration.
Adirondack has points in seven of their last eight homes games (5-1-2) as they improved to two games over .500 at home (17-15-3) with only three Glens Falls tilts remaining. With one more victory, the Phantoms will clinch a home-ice winning record for the 2012-13 season. Adirondack will try to get that victory Sunday at 3:00 when they host the Binghamton Senators.
It was the third overtime victory of the season for the Phantoms, two of which have come against Connecticut in Glens Falls. Sean Couturier blasted a winner against the Whale in an extra-period on January 5 in the last Phantoms' game he played before the end of the NHL lockout. Brandon Manning had an overtime winner on the road at Syracuse on October 28, 2012.
It was Akeson's second career overtime-winner. His first came in March of last season against the Syracuse Crunch.
The Phantoms conclude their three-in-three weekend at home on Sunday at 3:00 against the Binghamton Senators with the wacky World Record Attempt for longest conga-line on skates to take place after the game with the fans. Anyone bringing their skates to participate in the post-game conga line will receive a free ticket to the Phantoms game next Friday night against the Hershey Bears. Call the Phantoms at 518-480-3355.
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American Hockey League Stories from April 13, 2013
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