Manning with Gordie Howe Hat Trick in 5-4 Road Win
Brandon Manning scored two goals and notched his second career "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" as the Phantoms pulled out a wild 5-4 victory at the Norfolk Admirals on Friday night. It was also the first multi-goal game in Manning's career. A Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a fight, a goal and an assist all in the same game.
The Phantoms have won four of their last five and also pulled to within three points of eighth-place Norfolk in the Eastern Conference standings with three games-in-hand. Bruno Gervais blasted the game-winner midway through the third-period breaking a 4-4 tie while Rob Bordson and Kris Newbury also registered goals for Adirondack. Jason Akeson notched assists on three of the goals.
Adirondack and Norfolk meet again in the finale of their key weekend series on Saturday at 7:15.
After a 1-1 deadlock in the first period, the two teams combined for a total of six goals in the middle frame including two different occasions when they traded goals with each other just 10 seconds apart.
Adirondack improved to 13-11-2 with the win and moved to an impressive 7-4-1 on the road. The Phantoms are 12-7-0 since October 26. Norfolk fell to 13-11-5 with their fourth straight setback. Cal Heeter got off to a slow start but made some impressive saves including two tremendous stops to deny Devante Smith-Pelly in the third period to secure the win.
Max Friberg opened the scoring with the first of his two goals on the night when he tallied on a mid-first period rush into the slot chipping top-shelf Emerson Etem's centering pass.
Brandon Manning powered a big center-point slapper past the left-skate of Norfolk rookie goalie John Gibson to even the score with 5:27 remaining in the first. Manning would later drop the gloves with John Kurtz in the second period and then assist on the Gervais game-winning goal in the third period to complete his second career Gordie Howe Hat Trick. 2 Goals for Manning in 5-4 Win at Norfolk
Rob Bordson took a swing at a bouncing puck that was behind Gibson after a Ben Holmstrom shot and got enough of it on a little tip to give the Phantoms the lead at 2-1 at 1:26 of the second period. Bordson's seventh of the year moves him into a tie for the team lead with Chris VandeVelde who is currently with the Philadelphia Flyers.
That lead lasted for five minutes before Emerson Etem barely pushed a goal across the line on a scramble in the slot. At first appearance, it seemed Jason Akeson had made a terrific diving stop while falling backwards into the net behind Cal Heeter. But video-review of the play determined that the puck had indeed crossed the line and Norfolk was awarded the tying goal to make the score 2-2.
Two minutes later, the teams would trade goals just nine seconds apart. Zack Stortini muscled his way out in front and somehow snuck a soft shot from the right circle through Cal Heeter's short-side between his left leg and the post. Manning struck again just moments later with a blast from the left-wing wall that ended up brely dribbling through Gibson after he initially got most of it.
A similar scenario developed in the last 30 seconds of the period when Jason Akeson's spin-o-rama in the left circle connected with Newbury in the slot for a shot bbehind Gibson. And then 10 seconds after that was a drive by Friberg of Norfolk that snuck past Heeter to once again tie the game, this time at 4-4.
Adirondack benefited from a parade of Norfolk penalties in the third period and had three consecutive power plays to try to break the deadlock. Bruno Gervais cranked his big slapper from the top of the left-circle for a 5-on-3 goal in the middle of the third period for the 5-4 lead.
Norfolk's pressure intensified for the final minutes of the game and Heeter made several key stops including his last save with just four seconds remaining on a tricky drive from the right-wing.
Norfolk outshot Adirondack 30-27. The Phantoms were 1-for-6 on the power play while Norfolk finished 0-for-4.
The Phantoms aim for the sweep at Norfolk on Saturday night at 7:15. The players depart for their Christmas Break after Saturday's game and then the Phantoms return to action on Thursday and Friday next week on the road at Springfield and Albany.
The Phantoms next home games are Saturday, December 28 against the Providence Bruince on Youth T-Shirt Night and Tuesday, December 31 against the Worcester Sharks for the traditional New Year's Eve Game in Glens Falls.
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