Friday, February 1, 2013

Phantoms 5, Norfolk 2 2/1

"For one, that was an awful turnover by myself. We were shorthanded and I tried to make a play, which -- for one -- when you're killing a penalty, you're supposed to just get it down the ice. But I turned it over, left our goalie out to dry. They had a 3-on-0. I knew it was my fault and I knew I had to do something to try to get it back." -- Adirondack Phantoms center Rob Bordson.
Bordson did just that, scoring two big goals to lead the Phantoms to a 5-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Friday night at the Civic Center. After his ill-advised pass was picked off by Norfolk's Peter Holland, resulting in a three-on-zero rush on goalie Brian Boucher, he scored on his next shift and added an insurance goal that all-but put the game out of the reach in the third.

It was Bordson's first multi-goal game in the American Hockey League since January 2011.

“When you’re on the ice and you screw up and it ends up going in your net, you know you have to dig in and get something done,” Phantoms coach Terry Murray said of Bordson. “And he responded.”

The line of Harry Zolnierczyk, Shane Harper and Bordson collectively had a great game. Zolnierczyk had three assists. Bordson had two goals. Harper, celebrating his 24th birthday, had an empty-net goal and an assist. Look for Murray to keep that one together tomorrow night at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"I told him right after (the turnover) I was like 'Hey, Bordo. Don't even worry about it.' We're going to go get one," Harper said. "I think the next shift, we went out and got one. I think that'll definitely help anybody if you have a little mistake like that. To come back strong is pretty big."

The win, as a whole, could also be an important one for the Phantoms. For one, the three-game losing streak is history. Secondly, they realized they weren't playing well in the second period and they corrected it in the third, scoring three goals on nine shots. That's an important step for this team.

“The second wasn’t a good period,” Harper said. “We came in here in the break and basically wanted to come back like we did in the first. I think we did that in the third and that was a big win for us.”

Some other highlights:

-- Adirondack's power play has been on fire in the past seven games. They've scored at least one goal in each of them and have gone 11-for-34 during that stretch, which is a 32.4 percent success rate. To put that in perspective, they'd been operating at a dismal 14.2 percent success rate through 35 games.

Murray said it just comes down to shooting the puck a lot more. So often, the team had been trying to score a pretty goal by just making a series of great passes. That wasn't working for them. Now, they're taking shots. Think of the Jason Akeson goal in the third period as the perfect example of what they need to do. Ordinarily, Akeson said having the puck at the point is a situation where he'd look to pass.

Instead, Akeson just ripped it through traffic and it went in the back of the net as the game-winner.

“The plays aren’t right there right now,” Akeson said. “The passing is a little off. When stuff like that isn’t clicking, you have to get the puck to the net.”

-- Matt Mangene scored his first professional goal 13:11 into the first period, redirecting Erik Gustaffson's pass over Igor Bobkov's glove. Andrew Johnston also had an assist on the goal. Good to see the rookies not only getting some power play time, but producing on the power play.

--  Jon Sim went scoreless in his Phantoms debut, but I was impressed with the way he played the front of the net on the power play. I think he will come exactly as he was advertised.

-- Matt Ford was feeling the effects of being kneed by Brandon Burlon last Saturday in Albany. That's why he was scratched, Murray said, and Ford won't make the trip to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He does not anticipate Ford will miss an extended period of time, since he was walking around after the game.

-- Speaking of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, they're on a roll of late, winning seven-of-eight since Jan. 11. I think tomorrow's game will be a good test for the Phantoms, to see if they can build off a win like this. It was their largest margin of victory since they beat Bridgeport 5-1 back in November.

-- Friend of the blog Jason Iacona will be covering tomorrow's pre-game post tomorrow in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Look for his post to drop right around 6:45 p.m. Then I'll be back for the post-game.

Until next time,


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