Cal Heeter posted 40 saves and Adirondack tied its season record for fewest shots on goal, but the Phantoms pulled themselves together to post a 4-2 victory over the Portland Pirates on Sunday afternoon at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Phantoms (27-33-5) set the tempo of the game when Tye McGinn scored just nine seconds after the opening faceoff. Jeff Dimmen tied the game with his second goal in four games after being scratched in 15 straight, Marcel Noebels had the game winning goal and Eric Wellwood put the game away with a beautiful breakaway with 46 second left in the second.
The Pirates (35-24-5) tried to take the game over in the second with two consecutive goals by Jordan Martinook and Brendan Shinnimin but that was not enough. Mark Visentin put together a poor effort, stopping only 14 shots.
Despite playing in Hartford last night and having a 3 PM start today, the Phantoms started the game off with a bang. On the first play after puck drop, the entire team crashed the net except for McGinn — who circled the net, picked up the rebound and scored off a backhander before double digits ticked off the clock.
“He came down with a great attitude,” said Ian Lapperiere, head of player development for the Flyers. “He leads by example and when you have a guy like him you have a better chance to win.”
Danny Syvret and Jason Akeson had the assists with Akeson adding yet another point to his Adirondack Phantoms all-time points record.
Adirondack sustained offensive pressure through much of the first half of the period keeping any Portland shots to the outside. The Phantoms power play suffered a bit including Akeson getting pick pocketed at the point which led to a Portland breakaway but Heeter was able to make the save. Despite the Pirates outshooting the Phantoms 9-5, Adirondack dominated most of the first.
The second period started similar to the first, only this time Portland’s Martinook scored on a rebound just 25 seconds in when the Pirates crashed the crease. David Rundblad and Nick Johnson had the assists. Adirondack put themselves behind even more when Heeter was called for a delay of game at 1:20 putting the Phantoms a man down. During the penalty kill the crowd was silenced when Rob Bordson took a puck to the face off a shot from Portland’s Rundblad. Bordson was able to skate of the ice with some assistance which was a good sign despite the amount of blood that was on the ice.
Portland took their first lead of the game at 4:18 when Shinnimin received a stretch pass from Mark Louis and was able to skate down the right side and place the puck just on the inside of the right post.
The Phantoms got a break when Rundblad received two minutes for boarding at 5:41. Adirondack did not waste much time as Dimmen tied the game back up, at 6:17, with a power play goal from the slot during a delayed Portland penalty. Erik Gustafsson and David Laliberte had the helpers.
The Phantoms were not done there, Jon Sim set up a nice play when he dug the puck up from the right wing boards only to find Noebels in the slot who put the Phantoms back on top at 15:35. At this point Adirondack had three goals on 10 shots.
The second period ended on a high note for the Phantoms with a spectacular goal from Wellwood with only 46 seconds left. He flew across the blue line on the right side dragging Portland’s Maxim Goncharov down behind him, skated in front of Visentin, and roofed it top shelf. I have not been a fan of Wellwood’s work ethic as of late but this goal showed he could be an NHL caliber player if he worked harder while with the Phantoms.
Fatigue weighed heavy on both teams in the third with Portland sustaining a good amount of pressure in the Phantoms end. Heeter stood tall though making 19 saves in the third keeping the Pirates from cutting the deficit. There were no additional goals in a lackluster third period as Adirondack went on to win 4-2.
“You are worried about a little bit of a let down, worried about some fatigue,” said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. “The start set the tone. The first goal, the first shift.”
Notes: Phantoms forward Rob Bordson received 15 stitches over his right eye after taking a shot from Rundblad. It seemed to have been the shield breaking that caused the cut. Bordson was walking around and talking after the game…Tyler Brown left the game in the first period after receiving a heavy hit and skated off holding his shoulder. He was later spotted watching the rest of the game in a sling behind the Phantoms end…Per the Phantoms, this was Murray’s 599th professional win between the NHL and AHL…Akeson got a point on McGinn’s goal adding to his lead for all time points in Adirondack Phantoms history with 99.