Minor League Update: 4/9-4/16

Image Courtesy of Aaron Eisenhauer

The Adirondack Phantoms finished 10th in the Eastern Conference for the 2011-2012 regular season, as the club missed a playoff berth by five points.

As they headed into the final week of the campaign with an outside chance to make the postseason, the Phantoms dropped two of their final three tilts to miss an opportunity to win the Calder Cup.

On Friday night, the Phantoms traveled to the MassMutual Center and lost 4-2 to the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets). Wade MacLeod potted two goals in the midst of the Falcons’ three-goal third period including the game-winner at the 12:33 mark. David Savard scored Springfield’s first goal in the third stanza with his fourth of the season and provided a pair of assists for a three-point contest, while Nick Drazenovic had three helpers in the win. Paul Dainton recorded the win for the Falcons with 26 stops on 28 shots for his first tilt with less than three goals against in his last four starts. For Adirondack, Ben Holmstrom scored in the second period to tie the game at one, while Mike Testwuide deposited his 12th of the 2011-2012 campaign in the final 20 minutes. Michael Leighton stopped 18 shots for his first game with less than 20 saves since his 11-save loss to the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) on January 25.

The next day, the Phantoms returned to the Glens Falls Civic Center and beat the Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate) 3-2. Holmstrom’s second goal in as many games came 7:57 into the final stanza and served as the eventual game-winner, while Worcester’s Brian O’Hanley’s fourth of the season came a little over a minute later. Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson also scored for Adirondack in the club’s final win of the season, a game that improved their record to 3-2-0 in the month of April. Leighton earned first star of the game honors with a 48-save effort on 50 shots against, both of which were season-highs for the goalie’s final game of the season.

Matt Ford was the lone Phantom to record a multi-point performance, as Tony Lucia was the lone Shark to post a multi-point contest with two assists. Jack Combs was the other Worcester player to pot a goal, as he put home his 16th of the season in the second period. The win was especially important to Adirondack, as the organization honored four members into the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame. The four members inducted were former trainer Dave Casey, former player Murray Eaves, former Montreal Canadien Pete Mahovlich, and former announcer for the Adirondack Red Wings Dave Strader.

In their final game of the regular season, the Phantoms gave the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning) all they could handle before losing 4-2 in Adirondack.

With the game tied late in the third period, Cory Conacher scored with exactly two minutes left and added on the empty-netter to record a hat trick in the club’s 28th straight victory. Brandon Segal had a goal and three assists for Norfolk, while Trevor Smith had a couple of assists, as the Admirals beat the Phantoms for a fourth time in their impressive streak. Playing in his first game in nearly a month, Jason Bacashihua allowed three goals on 26 shots for his fourth straight loss. Holmstrom put home his 15th of the season to open the scoring and extend his goal streak to three games, while Akeson scored 12:15 into the third period to tie the game with his 15th of the year. Jaroslav Janus earned his 15th straight win for Norfolk, as the netminder made less than 20 saves in a win for a third time in his streak. The Admirals head into the playoffs as the top seed and take on the eight-seeded Monarchs.

The Phantoms didn’t make any roster moves this week.

All told, Adirondack finished 37-35-22 for a total of 78 points. Last season, the Phantoms were 31-39-4-6 for a total of 72 points, as they finished 13th in the conference and 16 points out of eighth place.

Mid-season pick-up Ford led the Phantoms in both goals (29) and points (59) on the season, while Akeson had a team-high 41 assists.