Scott Munroe was the silent hero on Sunday afternoon, as he stopped 42-of-43 shots while the rest of the Phantoms uncharacteristically came together as a team and took it to the Syracuse Crunch by a 6-1 score in front of 3,076 fans at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Adirondack (19-24-3) had something to prove after a week of drama on and off the ice including a loss at Syracuse on Friday night. Goals by Erik Gustafsson, Matt Mangene, Jeff Dimmen and David Laliberte chased starter Riku Helenius out of the net after two periods, while Cullen Eddy and Laliberte tallied in the third against replacement Dustin Tokarski.
Tyler Johnson scored the lone goal for the Crunch (26-14-6) spoiling what would have been a well-deserved shutout for Munroe. Brett Connolly and Eric Neilson had the helpers on Johnson’s power-play goal scored with 1:22 remaining in regulation.
Already up by a goal after one period, the Phantoms came out to play the second like a team that was possessed. A bad turnover gave Jon Sim the puck behind the Crunch’s net where he dished it up front to a wide open Mangene who buried the puck past Helenius just a mere 37 seconds in for a 2-0 game.
Munroe continued to be solid as the majority of Syracuse chances were right on the doorstep. Things started to heat up as the Crunch’s Mike Angelidis tried to get into Munroe’s head by lurking over him after a save. That led to a Danny Syvret roughing penalty as he felt the need to protect his goalie. Adirondack was able to kill the penalty without letting Syracuse record a shot.
Tempers really started to fly after Zack FitzGerald got railed into the boards by Radko Gudas with no penalty being called. Adirondack’s Eddy decided to pay Gudas a visit with his fists.
The Phantoms continued to control the game with straight up hard work as Mangene grabbed a rebound from Sim’s chance up front and attempted a wrap around which ultimately ended up on Dimmen’s stick and he put it past Helenius at 10:56 in the second. That was one of the hardest working plays I have ever seen from this team.
The Adirondack pressure continued leading to a Syracuse unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and at 12:34 of the second Syvret’s shot went off Helenius’ shoulder and landed in the crease for a diving Laliberte who pokes the puck in the goal. Helenius was then replaced by Tokarski in the Syracuse net.
Munroe continued to shine as the second period came to an end with Adirondack leading the Crunch 4-0 despite being outshot by a 30-15 margin.
Continuing the theme from the second 20 minutes of play, only 90 seconds into the third, Eddy found the back of the net after receiving a beautiful pass from Eric Wellwood to continue the rout.
Syracuse at this point tried to get Adirondack off its game with some rough stuff, and even got away with some dirty penalties not being called but tons of credit to Adirondack as they continued to play their game and not succumb to the Crunch’s tactics.
“We had to keep playing the game,” said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. ”Again they are a very good hockey club. They can get one or two goals in a couple of shifts.”
The icing on the cake came 13 minutes into third when Jason Akeson decided to show off his skills. He squeaked through two Syracuse players, who then collided with each other, only to undress not one but two Syracuse defensemen and set up Laliberte for his second goal of the night.
The hardest working player on the ice was still Munroe who looked primed for a shutout only to be scored on by Johnson as time wound down. The power play resulted when FitzGerald was called for hooking with 2:05 left to play. I am sure Fitz will be buying Munroe dinner soon.
The first period was filled with back-and-forth hockey, so much that the first whistle of the game didn’t come until 5:28 into the opening frame. The Phantoms’ pressure in the Crunch’s zone was strong, especially from Ian Slater and Andrew Johnston, and it paid off at 7:02 when Gustafsson blasted the puck from the left circle, through traffic and over the right shoulder of Helenius. The unassisted strike proved to be the first time in 187:02 of hockey that the Phantoms enjoyed a lead.
Just seconds after Adirondack took the lead, Jeff Dimmen committed a hooking penalty and gave Syracuse the man advantage. Without losing momentum the Phantoms were able to kill the penalty and put pressure back on Syracuse. Adirondack almost had a second goal as Johnston was robbed on his rebound as it hit the post and landed in the crease where Helenius was able to cover it up before it trickled over the line.
The first bit of ugliness came with under 14 minutes played in the first when FitzGerald crushed Syracuse’s Kyle Wilson along the boards. The Crunch’s Jared Nightingale did not take kindly to Fitzy’s actions and dropped the gloves only to be knocked to the ice by his opponent’s first two punches. Nightingale did manage to get back up in the scrap but FitzGerald had no problem winning the match.
Near the end of the first, Munroe kept the momentum alive with a miraculous diving save to keep Mike Angelidis’ rebound attempt out of the net. The first came to an end with Adirondack leading Syracuse 1-0. but Syracuse had a slight lead in shots, 8-7.
Notes: A nice victory for the fans got even better when they were welcomed down to the ice for a post game skate with the players…Sunday’s win marked the first time since the season opener on October 13 that the Phantoms scored as many as six goals in one game…Adirondack welcomes Albany next Friday and Worcester next Saturday before finishing out the weekend in Springfield on Sunday.
Coach Terry Murray