Friday, November 2, 2012

Syracuse 4, Adirondack 1 11/2

I think the defining moment in Friday night's game was the 95-second span in the second period when the Crunch scored twice. By that point, the Phantoms had only held Syracuse to seven shots on goal, but a good percentage of those early shots were some pretty good scoring chances.

As Harry Zolnierczyk said after the game, Adirondack didn't have many breakdowns tonight. That first period was one of the better ones they've had all season. The Phantoms came out of the gate and held Syracuse to no shots on goal in the game's first 10 minutes. Nothing like last weekend's losses.

The breakdowns they did have, though, were fairly significant. The reigning AHL MVP blows by a defender. A puck is loose near the crease and Richard Panik shoves it in. Matt Taormina springs Tyler Johnson with a home-run pass -- the kind of low-percentage play the Phantoms are trying to avoid.

If you give a team those kinds of opportunities -- especially a team like Syracuse, essentially the defending Calder Cup champions after the off-season affiliation change -- they'll score.

"They're the Calder Cup championship team," Phantoms coach Terry Murray said. "They're going to win some races to pucks and create some scoring chances. ... We weren't allowing that many top-quality chances. What they got, they capitalized on."

The proximity of those back-to-back goals really forced Adirondack away from its plan. Think about it. They go down 1-0 in the first. They've been in that spot before. They battle back to tie it 1-1, generate some pressure, carry it over into the second period. They go down 2-1. Before they can start to do any of the things that worked the first time, they find themselves in a 3-1 hole. Big difference.

Adirondack has battled back from a two-goal deficit once this season, the second game at St. John's. They went down 2-0 and came back to win 4-3. In their other two wins, they never trailed by more than one goal. In four of their five losses, they found themselves in a two-goal deficit.

Now in Friday night's third period, particularly in the last 10 minutes, they're trying to come back from a 2-0 hole and they're looking to force some passes that aren't there. At some point this season, you have to think the team will learn from that. Maybe it'll take playing with a lead.

That's something they have yet to do much of this season.

They allowed the first goal, but responded well and got a deflection from Zolnierczyk to tie it 1-1 late in the first. But at the end of the night, they have now gone to 17 straight intermissions (eight games times two intermissions, plus the overtime game at Syracuse) without holding a lead at any of them.

Prescout: Albany put 44 shots on Cam Talbot, but the Connecticut goalie prevailed in a shootout, 2-1. Elsewhere in the division, Stan Galiev scored the shootout winner as Hershey topped Springfield, 3-2. Bridgeport was idle, but you can get into tomorrow's and Sunday's games for free.

Trenton Update: Niko Hovinen returns from injury and stops 28 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Reading Royals. Marcel Noebels keeps his eight-game point streak going.

We'll be back before tomorrow's game against Albany.

Until next time,


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