Phantoms 5, Bridgeport 1 11/21
They were happy to see him back -- and so were the Adirondack Phantoms.
Akeson, called up from ECHL Trenton earlier in the week, recorded the primary assist on all three of Adirondack's goals in the second period to lead the Phantoms to a 5-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Wednesday.
"I played here all last year," Akeson said. "I like playing here. It was great to be back out here. This is what I trained all summer for -- to be here and be a top player in this league. It's just one game. I can't be looking at this game and saying 'Oh, I'm here to stay.' Next game is a new thing and I'm going to go out and try and do better the next game."
Interesting comment from Terry Murray in the game story about Akeson's two-way play. The second-year pro played well off the puck tonight and had a solid two-way game, something Murray, a defensive-minded coach, expects out of all his players.
Apart from the spark provided by Akeson's arrival, it was a pretty complete game for the entire team.
They limited Bridgeport to seven or fewer shots in two periods. Scott Munroe made 22 saves. The No. 1 power play, using four forwards and defenseman Erik Gustafsson, scored three goals. Harry Zolnierczyk, who played an exceptionally inspired first period, scored just after a penalty expired.
Brayden Schenn added a goal and two assists for Adirondack, which snapped a two-game losing streak and moved to 7-8. Neat stat about him from the AHL office. The five total goals were the most the Phantoms scored since Oct. 13. The three power play goals were a single-game season high.
"We were playing well right from the first drop of the puck," Zolnierczyk said. "I thought we were playing the game we kind of talk about and try to bring out every night. It was finally nice to play a full game."
Asked Sean Couturier about the dynamic of the four-forward power play, which features him and Gustafsson on the points and Tye McGinn, Schenn and Akeson up front. The second power play unit still rolls with three forwards -- Zac Rinaldo, Garrett Roe, Ben Holmstrom -- and two defensemen.
"It's different," Couturier said. "We're still trying to get used to each other, but we seemed to find some good chemistry with (Akeson) back here. He's a good player and he's good with the puck. We did a good job on the power play tonight and we capitalized on our chances."
Added McGinn: "(Akeson is) a great player. You have to give him a lot of respect. He led our team in points last year for the whole year. He just helped out everything. He helps out. He's a power play guy. He's also a five-on-five guy. As you can see tonight, he filled the role for sure."
McGinn's power play goal, on a deflection, gave him two in 12 games this season. He had two all of last year, but continues to excel in the role of being a net-front presence on the man advantage.
"He's really starting to identify with the role," Murray said. "A young guy, a big man. He's got good hands, he finds pucks as they're coming through from the blue line. Tonight, he got his stick on it and it ends up in the back of the net."
Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin's comments, per the Connecticut Post's Michael Fornabaio. No other Northeast Division action on the schedule tonight. In the East, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes denied to The Citizens' Voice a report that he put a bounty on the head of Hershey's Steve Oleksy. Friend of the blog Jonathan Bombulie had some pretty insightful analysis on the situation.
Non-pressing hockey news: Adirondack debuted a new goal song tonight. It's "Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen. I was sad to see Mickie Krause's "Dup Dup (Mallorca Version)" go, but anything is better than the Wang Chung song they were playing just prior to warm-ups.
That'll do it for me tonight. Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
I'll be back before Friday's game. By the way, if you're willing to get up early for (Orange and) Black Friday, the Phantoms have a pretty good ticket deal for you.
Until next time,