Niklas Svedberg stopped 43-of-45 shots, as the Adirondack Phantoms were denied their chance at a season-high winning streak thanks to a 4-2 setback against the Providence Bruins at a packed Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday night.
Lane MacDermid and Jordan Caron scored within a span of 3:31 in the second period, while Chris Bourque added an insurance tally for the Baby B’s (16-10-2), who had the luxury of a day’s rest since their Thursday game in Portland was cancelled due to weather.
Making his second start in the last three games, Cal Heeter allowed three goals on 35 shots in defeat. Brayden Schenn and Eric Wellwood provided the offense, with Jeff Dimmen assisting on both tallies.
The Ghosts (13-15-1) now head to Lewiston, Maine for a matchup with the Portland Pirates on Saturday, then return home for a New Year’s Eve matinee with Bridgeport to round out calendar year 2012.
“We came out and played maybe 20 minutes out of that 60 minute game, and we can’t keep doing that,” said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. “We were just chasing the game and watching the game in the first two periods.”
Early in the second and trailing 1-0, Zach Fitzgerald tried to shake up the sleepy home crowd and his team by engaging Bobby Robins in a fight. Though Robins landed the majority of the punches and sent a tired Fitz to the ice, the bout failed to spark much interest on either side.
“He asked me to…he wanted me to go,” Fitzgerald said of the scrap. “I never faced him before. He got a couple good shots in on me and I didn’t get as many on him as I would have liked. For sure, it’ll be one I’ll have to put in my memory (for next season).”
The Bruins then went up 2-0 thanks to a bit of slick passing inside their own zone. Christian Hanson (yes, son of one of the legendary Hanson Brothers from “Slap Shot” streaked up the right wing and held until he was at the top of the circle, before dishing right into the crease for an easy tap-in from MacDermid at 6:15 of the second.
Adirondack finally got on the board thanks to the touch of a Flyer from last season. On the next shift after Jason Akeson’s shot from a 4-on-2 break was turned away by Svedberg, the puck was turned over at center ice. Dimmen recovered in time to dish ahead to Schenn, who was in alone and lifted a backhander inside the right post and under the crossbar with 9:21 played.
Any feeling of a momentum shift was short lived.
Only 25 seconds later, Carter Camper — who had been clipped up high earlier in his shift while jockeying for position between the circles — dished up for Caron, who beat Heeter cleanly for a 3-1 Providence advantage.
“We just stopped skating. We had no jump, no cohesion,” Murray added. “We were light with our sticks, we weren’t making plays and just too many turnovers in the first two periods that brought problems into our own end.”
Despite 41 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey through the middle portion of the third, the Phantoms didn’t hit paydirt until the latter stages of the one-man edge as Wellwood cranked one from the right circle top shelf to make it 3-2.
Heeter was called to the bench with roughly 90 seconds to go, but Bourque hit the clincher into the yawning cage with 38.6 seconds remaining.
Seconds after failing on the first power-play chance of the opening period, the Bruins benefitted from a failed clear along the right-wing boards. Zach Trotman picked up the loose disc and flung it to the net, where Justin Florek tipped it home from the slot at 4:43.
Providence flirted with other quality scoring chances, including two shots which rang off the outside of each post, but failed to make a dent.
Notes: Providence won both meetings with Adirondack this season…Hanson was credited with a second assist following the completion of the contest…Friday’s loss marked the 17th time this season the Phantoms have scored two goals or less…Svedberg’s selection as the #1 star in the game marked the eighth time in the entirety of the Phantoms’ losses this season that a goaltender was granted that honor…Attendance was 4,542.