Saturday, November 24, 2012

Phantoms 3, Bears 1 11/24

Second-year pro Tyler Brown's first goal of the season stood as the game-winner as the Adirondack Phantoms beat the Hershey Bears 3-1 Saturday at Glens Falls Civic Center.

It was Adirondack's third straight win and fourth straight home win. At 9-8, the Phantoms are now above .500 for the first time since opening night.

I tried to focus the game story on just how dominant the Phantoms have been in the second period during this six-game homestand, outshooting opponents 52-18 and outscoring them 6-2.

Their stranglehold on the second period has helped them get past a couple of lackluster third periods. Tonight's final frame wasn't as bad as Friday's, but the Phantoms didn't do themselves any favors by taking three penalties in the first 14 minutes. They did outstandingly well on the penalty kill though, going a perfect 7-for-7, and limited Hershey to eight shots in the third.

"Again, I kind of go back to maybe a little bit of youth," said Scott Munroe, who turned aside all but one for the third straight game. "We have to know when's the right time to hold back and maybe sort of let a guy go instead of taking interference or a hook or a hold. That'll come."

Munroe stopped 82 of the past 85 shots thrown his way, which is impressive. The team notes he's 39 saves away for his 4,000th as a Phantom. He's also 98 away from his 6,000th career AHL save, also impressive. He's probably not even going to win an award for either of those or his recent play after Abbotsford's Barry Brust broke a 55-year old shutout record, which is very impressive.

Anyway, back to Glens Falls. Phantoms coach Terry Murray said Brown's goal, off a rebound in front of the net, was a textbook example of the kind of goal that line is expected to score.

"When you play three in four nights and you have back-to-back games -- you have a Hershey team watching us play last night -- you need everybody contributing significant minutes in significant ways. I thought the line with (Garrett) Roe, Brown and (Mike) Testwuide tonight did a big job. They were physical, they were intense on the puck and they end up scoring a huge goal as a result of their hard work."

Added Brown: “We’re fourth line, we’re grinders. We’re out there to get the team going. We’re not going to get the nicest goals, but any time we can get a goal it’s definitely nice.”

Conversely, Brayden Schenn helped set up one of the nicest goals we've seen this season. He drew two defenders as he skated over the blue line, then dished the puck through both of the defensemen to a wide-open Tye McGinn, who roofed it over a diving Dany Sabourin.

That tied it 1-1 in the first after Zach Hamill scored early for Hershey.

"That's a hockey player play," Murray said. "He's attacking, he brings people to him. He just puts in in his hip pocket, basically and the defenseman commits and he just finds him with speed wide. That's a play that a hockey player is supposed to make."

Schenn finished with two assists, giving him 22 points this season. That's third in the AHL.

Brown's goal made it 2-1. Sean Couturier scored an empty-netter with 25 seconds left. Ballgame. Hershey has lost six of seven. Adirondack is on a roll.

"We have to stick to the game plan and play 60 minutes," Couturier said. "We know we can beat any one in this league if we play a 60-minute game. Last three games we've been doing that and we've had some great results."

Around the division, four different players scored and Dustin Tokarski made 18 saves as Syracuse beat Albany, 4-1. Chad Kolarik had a hat trick as Connecticut beat Norfolk, 5-2. Bridgeport had a rough night in Binghamton, where Robin Lehner made 35 saves. Manchester topped Springfield in a shootout. Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by that awful explosion there yesterday.

Greenville shut out Trenton. Andrew Johnston played. Evansville's Patrick Kennedy, who boarded him Friday, did not. He's suspended indefinitely pending a league review. He was also fined an undisclosed amount.

The team is back on the ice Monday. Expect an update then.

Until next time,


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