Monarchs Even Season Series with Phantoms
Just 11 days ago, it was Adirondack handing it to the slumping Manchester Monarchs to the tune of a 5-3 result at the Glens Falls Civic Center. In the rematch, now surging Manchester was able to exact revenge for the previous loss with a 5-1 victory over the Phantoms to even the season series at one game apiece.
Adirondack trailied only 1-0 through the first 30 minutes of the game and looked good to tie the score at 1-1. But a quick three-goal outburst by the Monarchs' offense turned the tables and broke the game open to send the Phantoms to defeat.
It was not how the Phantoms expected it to be as the team had just added three potent scorers to the roster while the Philadelphia Flyers hit their All-Star Break. Ben Holmstrom, Tom Sestito and Harry Zolnierczyk all arrived into Manchester ready to help crank up the attack but it just didn't work out that way. For Holmstrom and Sestito, they returned to the Phantoms after a brief two game callup to the Flyers on Sunday and Tuesday. Zolnierczyk's stay with the big club had been significantly longer. The game would be his first in a Phantoms jersey since scoring an October 29 game-winner against the Hershey Bears.
The Phantoms just missed on their opportunity to move into first place in the division. A win would have vaulted Adirondack into a tie with Connecticut in points and the Phantoms would have actually been ahead on the total victories tiebreaker. But such are the breaks in hockey as Manchester benefited from some helpful bounces into just the right places in the Phantoms' zone.
Mike Testwuide scored the long goal for Adirondack. His 8th of the year came as he scored in his second consecutive game. Michael Leighton allowed four of the goals before being relieved by Jason Bacashihua and took the loss. Earlier in the day, it was announced that Leighton had been voted by the fans a the starter for the Eastern Conference at the AHL All-Star Classic in Atlantic City on Monday night. But he went from receiving that happy news to taking a tough loss at Verizon Wireless Arena just a few hours later.
Marc-Andre Cliche scored on the back-door on the power play about six minutes into the game as Manchester took a 1-0 lead after one period while the Phantoms outshot the Monarchs 9-7 in the opening frame.
Adirondack had narrowly come close to tying the score in the second period, particularly on a power play midway through. But Manchester goalie Jeff Zatkoff held down the fort, and when Nolan was released from the box he was met by a long stretch-pass from the Manchester zone right as he crossed the Adirondack line. Nolan converted on his breakaway for his 9th of the year to give the Monarchs the 2-0 lead it what would prove to be the turning-point of the game. It was the first of three goals that Manchester would score in less than three minutes.
J.D. Watt would lunge across the crease to get a stick on a puck just beyond the right skate of Leighton to make it 3-0. And Brandon Kozun would blast one through Leighton from the right-circle about a minute later for even more breathing room. Leighton may have been screen on the play or it may have been deflected on its way in.
Bacashihua came on for Leighton, and another helpful bounce for Manchester would push the score to 5-0 early in the third period. Adirondack appeared to have broken up an odd-man rush but the puck rolled out to the trailer, Kozun, who beat Bacashihua to his glove side for his second goal of the night.
Blake Kessel tipped away a puck at center for the Phantoms and found Ben Holmstrom who rushed in with a nifty give-and-go with Mike Testwuide for Adirondack's lone goal of the night. The Phantoms had some more chances on Zatkoff for the rest of the third but were unable to capitalize as Manchester came away with the 5-1 decision.
Adirondack outshot the Monarchs 29-28 and have now outshot their opponents in eight of their last nine games. The Phantoms were 0-for-4 on the power play while Manchester was 2-for-4. Adirondack and Manchester will meet again on Friday, February 17 at the Glens Falls Civic Center and then, for the last time, on Sunday, February 19 back in New Hampshire.
Adirondack's record is 21-19-2 for 44 standings points. They fell one point behind the streaking Bridgeport Sound Tigers who took a shootout loss to St. John's on Wednesday night. Adirondack remains just two points back of first place Connecticut. The Phantoms host Bridgeport on Friday night trying to pin the first regulation loss of 2012 on the Sound Tigers. Bridgeport is 8-0-1 since the calendar turned over.
Earlier in the week, defenseman Cullen Eddy had called backup by the Phantoms after a three game stretch in the ECHL with Greenville (SC), but the second-year blueliner did not play in the game.
Scratches for the Phantoms included Andrew Rowe, Oliver Lauridsen, Garrett Klotz, Luke Pither and Cullen Eddy.
Friday, January 27, 7:00 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 draft-beer specials through first intermission.
Saturday, January 28, 5:00 - Adirondack Phantoms at Albany Devils
Monday, January 30 - No Phantoms Power Hour Show. All-Star Break
Friday, February 3, 7:00 - Norfolk Admirals at Adirondack Phantoms. $2 draft beers.
Saturday, February 4, 7:00 - Providence Bruins at Adirondack Phantoms. Jimmer Fredette Bobbleheads (first 3,000 fans)
Get great savings with the Phantoms when you bring your group of 15 friends or co-workers to a game. Group-rates available as low as $13 per person. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355.
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Catch all the action of Phantoms hockey all season long on the team's flagship station, Classic Hits Q101.7 and on phantomshockey.com. Bob Rotruck has the broadcast coverage 30 minutes prior to game-time with Countdown to Faceoff.. Be sure to follow the Phantoms on twitter @phantomshockey and on facebook.com/adkhockey
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American Hockey League Stories from January 25, 2012
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- Admirals Ryan Ellis out of AHL All-Star Classic Because of Recall - AHL
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