New Guys Lead the Way for 3rd Straight Win
New arrivals Tom Serratore, Robert Hagg and Tony Capobianco are relatively unfamiliar names to Adirondack Phantoms' fans but it was this unlikely trio of recent acquisitions who led the way for the team's third consecutive victory. Serratore and Hagg both scored their first professional goals. And goaltender Capobianco of Canisius College entered in relief for Carsen Chubak to earn his first career win in a 5-4 shootout decision at Syracuse.
Ben Holmstrom tallied the game-winner in the ninth round of the shootout and also scored in the first period as well on his way to spoiling the home finale for the Crunch. Playing their last ever games as the Adirondack Phantoms, the team has won five of their most recent six as well as the last three in a row. The Adirondack Phantoms have just two games remaining including their last ever home game on Friday night. Rob Bordson scored for the Phantoms in the victory as well.
Goalie Tony Capobianco stops a shot on his way to his first professional win. (pic courtesy Scott Thomas photography)
It's a fine way to close out the last season for the Adirondack Phantoms. The team also boasts a four-game home-ice winning streak and a six-game home point-streak (4-0-2) entering their last ever game at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday night. Another newcomer, national champion Shayne Gostisbehere of Union College, will make his professional debut in the Glens Falls finale on Friday.
Serratore scored his first career goal before he's even played a single game in Glens Falls. The University of Minnesota product joined the Phantoms on Monday evening in Bridgeport fresh-off his national championship appearance on Saturday in Philadelphia when the Golden Gophers fell to Union College in the title game. This was Serratore's second professional game and he was able to muscle into the crease for the rebound of a Kevin Goumas sharp-angle shot in the second period to push Adirondack out in front 3-2. Serratore's father (Frank) and uncle (Tom) are long-time college hockey head coaches at Air Force and Bemidji State.
Hagg has a tad more pro experience that Serratore. The 19-year-old from Sweden who was a second-round selection of the Flyers in 2013 was appearing in eighth professional game. His tying goal with 6:55 left came on a power-play slapper from the left-point that appeared to bank off former Phantoms' defenseman Joey Mormina in the slot.
Starting goalie Chubak left the game after one period with an unspecified injury and Capobianco entered in relief to begin the second period in his pro debut and third-career professional game. He was tested right away and made a fine glove-save on a Jon Marchessault breakaway to quickly get into rhythm. Capobianco stuffed away the attempt of Joel Vermin in the bottom of the ninth round to earn his first career win. He had just joined the Phantoms on Sunday night after having appeared in two games in the ECHL with Elmira the past couple of weeks. This relief appearance against the Crunch represented his AHL debut.
Syracuse also received a boost from the newcomers with two of their players scoring their first career goals as well. Joel Vermin staked the Crunch to a 1-0 lead against Chubak about six minutes into the game on an intercept in the Phantoms' zone and Adam Erne capitalized on a breakaway in the second period on new goalie Capobianco.
Trailing 1-0 in the first period, Robert Hagg had a fine stretch-pass to connect with Tyler Brown busting across the Syracuse line along with Rob Bordson. Brown slid the puck across on the 2-on-1 opening the opportunity for Bordson to put on a nifty backhand move curling the puck around Syracuse goalie Cedric Desjardins tying the score at 1-1.
The Phantoms added another a couple minutes later with Ben Holmstrom's put-back of the rebound of an Oliver Lauridsen slapper in the closing second of the first period. Adam Erne responded in the second period with his breakaway goal to tie the score at 2-2 but Serratore's first coming at the 7:16 mark put the Phantoms back in front at 3-2.
Still leading 3-2 in the third period, the Crunch would score consecutive goals 56 seconds apart to take a 4-3 lead of their own. Brett Connolly converted on the back-door following a Jon Marchessault attempt to stuff one through Capobianco who had already made two dazzling saves on the sequence. Less than a minute later, Evan Rankin knifed out directly in front and drove in his own rebound just between the left shoulder of Capobianco and the post. It was at that point that head coach Terry Murray called his timeout to address his team as Syracuse had stolen the momentum and taken a 4-3 lead with about 10 minutes remaining.
Robert Hagg's drive from the left point looked like it might have banked off the body of former Phantoms' defenseman Joey Mormina going down to his knees to attempt a block. Instead, the deflection perfectly went over to the far-post on Desjardins for the first career pro goal for the rookie.
The shootout some a combined total of nine goals including five scores from Adirondack. The first for Adirondack was a Nick Cousins move in the third-round that was almost exactly the same as his backhand-tuckaround game-winner of 10 days earlier against Phillippe Trudeau of Bridgeport. He's now 2-for-2 trying that slick move.
Evan Rankin's move to open the shootout for Syracuse was one for the highlight reel as well. Rankin backhanded the puck backwards between his legs to then pick it up on the other side to his right and beat Capobianco on the glove-side with one of the more spectacular shootout moves imaginable.
Other shootout scorers for Adirondack included Rob Bordson (5th round), Marcel Noebels (6th), Derek Whitmore (7th) and then the winner by Ben Holmstrom (9th). Joel Vermin was stuffed by Capobianco at the end to trigger the Phantoms' celebration.
The final home game for the Adirondack Phantoms is this Friday night at 7:00 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Phantoms have announced a Team Poster Night for the first 4,000 fans in attendance courtesy of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Phantoms carry a three-game home win streak into their last ever game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Friday's crowd is expected to be another strong turnout as local fans want to wish their team a fond farewell after five seasons representing the region.
Be part of the special night and purchase your tickets in advance by calling the Adirondack Phantoms at 518-480-3355.
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American Hockey League Stories from April 16, 2014
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- Regulation Win Keeps Admirals' Playoff Hopes Alive - Norfolk Admirals
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- Crunch Fall to Phantoms in Shootout, 5-4 - Syracuse Crunch
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