It was like someone turned on a light switch late in the third period, as the Adirondack Phantoms scored 3 goals in the last 5:52 of the game to defeat the Connecticut Whale by a score of 4-3 in front of the 4,205 in attendance at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Eric Wellwood tied the game at 14:37 in the third and Jason Akeson completed his first AHL hat trick with the go-ahead goal. Scott Munroe was as steady as ever, posting 25 saves on the night.
Logan Pyett and Benn Ferriero posted goals in the first, and Brandon Segal scored in the second for the Whale (27-25-5-3) but it wasn’t enough to keep the Phantoms (23-30-2-2) at bay. Cameron Talbot was solid with 28 saves despite the loss.
It was a typical first period for the Phantoms at home as back-and-forth hockey dominated the period. Few quality shots were taken in the first 8 minutes of the game. With only a couple of shots for each team on the board, Akeson made a nice pass over the blue line and through a defender to Garrett Roe, who returned the pass to a charging Akeson who beat Talbot at 8:49 in the first.
The lead was short-lived as Ferriero deflected the puck past Munroe for the tying goal at 10:25. The Phantoms found themselves in penalty trouble as Eddy received two minutes for boarding at 12:13, only to be followed by a too many men on the ice penalty at 13:10, giving Connecticut a two man advantage. 43 seconds into the two-man advantage, Pyett blasted the puck from the point, beating Munroe to give Connecticut the lead.
The second period saw a lot of the same back-and-forth hockey as in the first period. Phantoms head coach Terry Murray has stated in the past that the team is not a highly-skilled team and it showed in the second period. Three or four plays could have led to quality scoring chances, but the shot was either flubbed or there were one too many passes, which gave the Whale time to catch up.
The only goal in the second came at 6:13 when the Phantoms fell apart in their own end and were not able to clear the crease around Munroe. Yogan’s shot hit the post, then bounced off Munroe and landed behind him, and before he could reach for it, Segal poked it in, giving Connecticut the 3-1 lead.
Halfway through the third period, it looked like Connecticut had it in the bag. The Phantoms were having trouble getting quality scoring chances, and even when they did, they couldn’t get it past Talbot. The energy on the ice was low and no one was throwing their body around in an attempt to gain momentum.
Then, shortly after the 14 minute mark, Akeson received a pass at center ice from Roe and flew down the left side, burying the puck over the glove of Talbot to cut the deficit to one. 29 seconds later, Wellwood was able to sneak down the right side with the puck and beat Talbot in the same spot Akeson had moments before.
With the game tied and 5:23 left to play, a very disciplined Phantoms team took over the game. “It’s one of those things where you’re only down 3-1, and when we got that goal, it gave us a bit of a spark,” said Monroe. “Then, okay, it’s 3-2, and then we got another one and it was great to see, and I think we grabbed the momentum and ran with it.”
The Phantoms took their second lead of the game at 17:12 in the third as Jon Sim battled along the boards behind Talbot and attempted a wraparound goal, where Akeson was waiting on the doorstep for the rebound and the game-winning goal.
Connecticut had a chance to tie the game with 42 seconds left as Oliver Lauridsen was called for tripping. A great team effort by the Phantoms kept the puck away from Munroe and pushed it out of their zone as the clock wound down and the Phantoms got their second win in just as many nights.
“These are two huge wins for us,” said Akeson. “All I got to say is, we have to keep going and keep playing.”
Notes: Despite their record the Phantoms are 7th in penalty kills at 85.5%. Jason Akeson scored his first AHL hat trick. Last year with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Scott Munroe shutout Connecticut three consecutive times. This was his first time facing the Whale this year.