Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crunched 11/17

The Syracuse Crunch scored four goals in the first 12 minutes of the second period to turn a 1-0 lead into an insurmountable 5-0 advantage and held on to beat the Phantoms 5-2 Saturday in Syracuse.

More on that in our report here. I wasn't in Syracuse, so I didn't get a chance to do post-game interviews, but the Phantoms sent some comments from Terry Murray along that I wanted to share.

The teams combined for 17 power plays -- Adirondack went 1-for-9 and Syracuse went 2-for-8 -- and it shouldn't be a surprise that this was a two-referee game. Adirondack hasn't seen many of those this year, so perhaps they got caught cheating a little bit.

"I think this was just the third time this year we had the two officials out there and it does make a difference" the Phantoms quoted Murray as saying. "I think we get used to the one and maybe get away with more little stuff. With two, they see everything and we took some careless penalties including times when we were on the power play or in a pretty good situation or in the offensive zone. That's composure that you have to have."

Taking penalties when they were on the power play -- or about to go on the power play -- were particularly troublesome for Adirondack. They're down 2-0 when Cory Conacher goes off for high-sticking 5:35 into the second, then Brandon Manning gets called for an elbow at 6:01. Richard Panik is going off for interference at 6:39, then Marc-Andre Bourdon knocks a guy down after the whistle, gets called for it and it stays even-strength. Ondrej Palat puts Syracuse up 3-0 at 8:19.

I'd say that's your ballgame right there, but the Phantoms also took some questionable penalties earlier in the game. They were whistled for three in the first period and though Syracuse didn't score on any of those, they definitely contributed to the Phantoms only registering five shots in the first.

That's one above their season low for shots in a period, which also came in a game against Syracuse.

"It's important to start the game the right way and show composure," the Phantoms quoted Murray as saying. "Don't take bad penalties. We have to have composure and be ready (at the start) to match the game-speed and intensity that they play with."

Roster note: Defenseman Zack FitzGerald, pictured, took Matthew Ford's spot in the lineup. It was his third game of the season and first action since Oct. 28. He skated as a forward, eventually winding up alongside Rob Bordson and Tyler Brown. I saw a couple of different line combinations on AHL Live, but couldn't piece together any consistent ones. Lots of special teams time, so I'll be sure to jot down and Tweet out what they're running at Monday's practice.

EDIT: Another roster note. Former Phantom Luke Pither has been reassigned from Trenton to Wheeling, per the ECHL transactions. He was technically assigned to Adirondack on Thursday, according to the ECHL, although Adirondack never announced it and he was not at practice, so it was probably a paper deal. It's not uncommon for a team to "call-up" someone for a short time period in order to reassign them to another team in the ECHL. Not sure why or if that is the case with Pither, though. I'll see what I can find out from the team at Monday's practice.

The Phantoms host Bridgeport Wednesday. That kicks off a month-long stretch in which they'll play six in a row and 10 of their next 12 at Glens Falls Civic Center. It will be interesting to see how they handle that extended stretch at home, having played 10 of their first 14 games on the road.

Until next time,


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