"Unacceptable" loss 10/26
The Phantoms, who deviated from the style of play that brought them success in St. John's and opted for more high-risk, home-run passes, needed 15 minutes to fire two shots at Albany goaltender Jeff Frazee. The Devils, who stuck to the New Jersey system, scored twice in the first 16 minutes.
You could make an argument that was your ballgame there, but Adirondack got a potential instant spark from Zac Rinaldo's penalty shot goal with 1:35 to play in the opening frame. Said Rinaldo, who is on a two-game goal-scoring streak: "I asked a handful of guys what I should do. They said 'Don't even think about it.' I just went down and I did my thing." Video below, courtesy of the Phantoms:
Ordinarily, that'd be a momentum boost, right? Well, Murray didn't seem to think it was. They didn't really generate much pressure in the closing seconds of the first period or at the start of the second.
Then locked-out NHLer Adam Henrique scored on a penalty shot to turn this game into a future trivia answer. Such a development would, ordinarily, be a momentum killer.
"There wasn't much to take away," Murray said. Albany scored twice more in the third, receiving goals from Phil DeSimone and Darcy Zajac in a three-minute span. That's definitely your ballgame.
Side note: The referees combined for as many penalty shots as they did minor penalties.
Anyway, Murray wasn't pleased with the team's effort.
"What we need to be better at is the mental part of the game," Murray said. "To understand that you play the team game and stay with the gameplan. We looked for the home-run play. We're looking for plays to the offensive blue-line from deep in our own end. Those are isolation plays and sometimes they work, but most of the time you end up frustrating yourself. We have to get back to a team game. The way we played last weekend was really good. We were just totally away from it."
The coach did praise the play of Cal Heeter, who finished with 25 saves. Heeter fell to 0-2 on the season, the other loss being in Adirondack's 4-0 shutout loss in Springfield Oct. 14. He did have a good game, overall. Don't think you can fault him on either of the first two, Adam Henrique has a heck of a shot when he has time and space, the fourth wasn't great defense and the fifth a deflection.
“I felt bad for him,” Murray said. “That’s his second start and we come up with an unacceptable performance. It’s too bad. He battled and he competed and he made some big stops for us."
Murray switched up the lines a bit, beginning late in the second period. Mangene swapped with Zolnierczyk, creating McGinn-Couturier-Zolnierczyk and Roe-Johnston-Mangene. And Danny Syvret, who turned the puck over that led to Albany's second goal and got beat by Phil DeSimone's nice move on the fourth, didn't play on either of Adirondack's two power plays.
That was a coaching decision, Murray said.
Prescout: Rochester scored twice in the final 1:08 to force overtime, but fell to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-4 on a late goal by Paul Thompson. So neither they nor Adirondack will be too happy tomorrow.
"We have to come with a whole different attitude," Rinaldo said. "We have to come guns firing. Pucks to the net, pucks deep. Everything we can do. We'll bounce back, though."
Around the division: Connecticut gets 26 saves from Cam Talbot in his season debut and beats Hershey, 3-1. The Bears are off to their worst start since the other lockout, writes Tim Leone. Curtis McElhinney makes 33 saves for his second shutout of the season as Springfield downs Providence. Tim Kennedy and Bracken Kearns each have three point nights as Worcester beats Bridgeport, 5-1.
Trenton Update: Niko Hovinen returns (as a backup) and has good seats for Trenton's 4-1 win over Toledo. Luke Pither and Jason Akeson had goals. Marcel Noebels had an assist, giving him points in all six Trenton games. They're 5-1.
Until next time,