Syracuse Survives Wild Goaltenders' Duel
Cedric Desjardins turned aside 28 Phantoms drives on a late night of hockey in Glens Falls as the visiting Syracuse Crunch were barely able to hang on for a 1-0 victory on Saturday night.
Fans had to wait 50 extra minutes for a slightly later-than-normal start for the game due to mechanical issues with the Syracuse bus on their way in. And played eventually got underway, the crowd was treated to a wild affair with spectacular stops made on both ends as both teams battled and got after it extremely hard. It was an exceedingly entertaining game with edge-of-your-seat tension despite the disappointing final result.
Adirondack was awarded a late power play and then pulled goalie Cal Heeter setting up a 6-on-4 for their opportunity to tie. And Tye McGinn had a back-door chance with 40 seconds left that was somehow denied by a scrambling Desjardins with one of his more remarkable saves of the evening. Crunch captain Mike Angelidis made two terrific diving blocks on late slappers as well. The Phantoms had the chances but Desjardins could not be broken.
It was actually an historic night as well. This was the first 1-0 final in Glens Falls in the five-year history of the Adirondack Phantoms. It was the fourth such game all-time but the previous three games that finished 1-0 all took place on the road. It was also the first time ever the Adirondack Phantoms had lost 1-0 in regulation. The Adirondack Phantoms are 2-1-1 all-time in 1-0 decisions.
On the Phantoms' side, Cal Heeter was pretty terrific too. He stopped 22 of 23 Syracuse shots in a performance that on pretty much any other night would have been good enough for a victory. His breakaway save on Cedric Paquette early in the third period kept the game deadlocked at 0-0. But Paquette would avenge that denial with the lone goal of the night picking up the rebound off a left-leg kick-save by Heeter to stuff home his sixth of the year with just eight minutes remaining finally snapping the scoreless deadlock.
Early in the third-period featured a somewhat extended line-brawl mess in the Phantoms' zone. The shoving started in the crease and then the scrum escalated along the end-boards and then by the time the wrestling and moved back out towards the circle everybody was grabbing partners and things were getting more heated by the second. Ultimately, nobody dropped the gloves with anyone in the fight and the officials decided to give mostly two-minute roughing penalties to the majority of the combatants allowing both sides to continue primarily with their full squads.
The drama was also high late in the second period when the Phantoms were charged with three consecutive minor penalties leading to a Syracuse 4-on-3 and then eventually a 5-on-3 advantage. Somehow the Phantoms penalty-kill were able to grind their way through that win with a couple timely clears as well as important saves by Heeter.
The game was the first 1-0 contest involving the Adirondack Phantoms since March 23, 2012 when Michael Leighton for the Phantoms battled Scott Munroe who was then of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (and would join the Phantoms the following season). Leighton and the Phantoms prevailed in that one at Wilkes-Barre on a goal by Jason Akeson.
The only other 1-0 loss in the history of the Adirondack Phantoms was December 6, 2011 when Adirondack dropped an overtime game at the Hamilton Bulldogs. Nathan Lawson of Hamilton (now with Binghamton) was the winning goalie over Michael Leighton in that one while Aaron Palushaj scored the winner with just 45 seconds remaining in the OT.
The Phantoms outshot Syracuse 28-23. Both teams had some impressive penalty kills throughout the night. Syracuse finished 1-for-6 on the power play while Adirondack was 0-for-7 which included all of their near misses in the closing minutes.
It was the first of six meetings between the Phantoms and Crunch but somewhat unfortunately (considering the overall excitement level of this contest) the two teams will not meet again until March.
This was the beginning of a four-game homestand for the Phantoms and is the middle of a busy stretch of eight games in 16 days with seven of those eight coming at home. The Phantoms are back in action at the Glens Falls Civic Center this coming Wednesday, Friday and Saturday against Bridgeport, Hartford and Utica. The game on Saturday, December 7 is Teddy Bear Toss Night to benefit the Salvation Army and also Phantoms Poster Night presented by Glens Falls Printing featuring a team-autograph session in Heritage Hall after the game. Fans can save when they purchase their tickets in advance. For more information, call the Adirondack Phantoms at 518-480-3355.
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