Large Crowd Fills GFCC in Phantoms' Return
A terrific Saturday night turnout of 4,602 filled the Glens Falls Civic Center for the first home game in two weeks of the Adirondack Phantoms. The crowd that was within 200 of another Phantoms sellout were treated to an entertaining first period featuring four combined goals and seven total power plays but the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack were able to pull away in the second period for a 4-2 win.
Tye McGinn (20th) and Derek Whitmore (7th) scored on the man advantage for the Phantoms in the wild first period. But Jesper Fast took advantage of a couple of ill-timed Adirondack penalties late in the second to convert back-to-back goals to break the tie.
Adirondack's normally stellar penalty kill was touched up three times by the Hartford power play in this one perhaps partly due to the absence of some key blueliners. Missing from this game with various injuries or maladies were Bruno Gervais, Brandon Manning, Oliver Lauridsen and Steven Delisle. The growing injury-list and constantly changing lineup has been a continuing theme for the Phantoms through the month of March.
Charity Firefighters Game on Saturday afternoon. MacBoston Truck 18 group of local firefighters defeated FDNY 9-5.
Among the large and noisy crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center was the President and CEO of the American Hockey League, David Andrews. As work is continuing from Glens Falls to secure a new team for the North Country, the AHL President raved about how impressed he was with the continued support.
"Glens Falls and the Adirondack region is an unbelievable hockey area and it has been for 30 some odd-years," Andrews said. "This is a really terrific fan-base for pro hockey. Hopefully there will be some solution here that we can keep American League hockey in this marketplace going forward. It is really a testament to the great fans you have here and to draw these numbers for a team that doesn't look like it's going to make the playoffs and near the end of the run here. A terrific crowd. It's really nice to see."
Earlier in the day, on Firefighters Appreciation Night, was the Firefighters Charity Game featuring the group from MacBoston Truck 18 including many Saratoga-area players against the FDNY. In front of a nice crowd in the early afternoon cheering them on all for a good cause, the MacBoston team pulled out the victory over the FDNY by a 9-5 score. The Phantoms helped MacBoston raise thousands of dollars for their group.
Tye McGinn scores his team-leading 20th of the year from a sharp angle. Photo courtesy Andy Camp.
As for the game, it was actually the Phantoms who had the early power-play advantage as they were awarded five opportunities in just the first period alone. Adirondack converted on two of those so were doing well. But they also surrendered a shorthanded goal as well as Hartford power-play goal so the score after the wild, opening 20 minutes stood at 2-2.
Adirondack's power play has been red-hot. Seven goals on the man-advantage in their last three games including three last Sunday at Bridgeport, two more on Friday against Utica, and then two more in this game against Hartford. That's 7-for-16 in their last 180 minutes good for a 43.7% clip. The addition of Derek Whitmore has been a big part of the recent power-play surge.
There was not much to be done by goalie Cal Heeter on the goals the Hartford Wolf Pack scored, primarily on rebounds. But unfortunately, Heeter lost his cool a little bit late in the second period when he speared a Hartford forward right after the whistle and gave Hartford a double-minor power play. The Wolf Pack would boost their momentum into the locker-room scoring the last of their four goals in the final minute of the second period. Jesper Fast's second of the game also came at the tail-end of that four-power-play minute stretch and suddenly Hartford enjoyed a two-goal advantage into the second intermission.
Swedish rookie Oscar Lindberg opened the scoring two-and-a-half minutes into the game picking off a pass by Jason Akeson and converting on a shorthanded breakaway.
Derek Whitmore beats Dov Grumet-Morris for his GFCC goal as an Adirondack Phantom.
The Phantoms struck almost at the midway point of the first period with Derek Whitmore accepting Brandon Alderson's smart feed into the slot after a strong headman pass by Nick Cousins. Whitmore in his Glens Falls Civic Center debut as a Phantoms scored his third goal with the team and his seventh overall of the season. The former Hershey Bear came to Adirondack a couple weeks ago in a mutual loan-loan deal involving Kris Newbury heading to the Bears. Whitmore had scored 28 goals and 27 goals two seasons ago and three seasons ago.
But Hartford would strike back just four minutes later when another rookie, Danny Kristo, would bury the rebound of a Danny Syvret slapshot for his team-leading 20th goal of the season. At 13:24 into the first, the Wolf Pack were ahead again at 2-1.
Less than two minutes later, the Phantoms found themselves with a 5-on-3 chance and they were able to take full advantage with Kyle Flanagan finding Tye McGinn on the base of the right-circle who was able to drive in his 20th of the year from a very sharp angle behind the skate of Grumet-Morris who had no chance to rotate over in time. McGinn and Jason Akeson are now for the team-lead in goals with 20 apiece and both have a pair of goals so far this weekend. Akeson received a secondary assist on McGinn's goal for his 57th point of the year moving him to within five of the single-season team record 62 points by Jon Matsumoto in 2009-10.
The 2-2 tie would hold for much of the second period but young Jesper Fast was true to his name with a pair of fast goals back-to-back in the final minutes of the second period. His power-play strikes at 15:16 and 19:06 of the second broke the tie and gave Hartford a 4-2 lead they would enjoy to the end. Adirondack had a couple surges in the third period and also another power play as well as a late extra-attacker opportunity but were unable to close the deficit.
The Phantoms and Wolf Pack concluded the 10-game divisional season series with Hartford giving Adirondack fits throughout the rivalry this year. Hartford outshot the Phantoms 36-21. The Wolf Pack went 3-for-5 on the power play while the Phantoms were 2-for-7.
The Phantoms orange-jersey auction concludes on eBay on Monday evening at 7:00 PM. Get your bids in now to win a game-worn Adirondack Phantoms jersey!
The Phantoms conclude their 3-in-3 weekend on Sunday evening at 5:00 against the Syracuse Crunch. It is another Sunday Family FunDay including a postgame open-skate with the players. Purchase your Sunday Family FunPacks for only $43 to receive 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs, 3 sodas, 1 large popcorn and 1 program. Make it a 4-pack for another $15 to receive another ticket, hot dog and soda. Call the Phantoms at 518-480-3355.
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