Friday, February 8, 2013

Syracuse 4, Adirondack 2 2/8

The Adirondack Phantoms fell to 1-6 in their past seven games with a 4-2 loss to Syracuse Friday at Onondaga County War Memorial, but one of Syracuse's goals may have been scored on a blown call.

Syracuse rookie Brett Connolly (bottom white) certainly appears to me to be offside on this play. Both of the winger's skates are well in the attacking zone, and rookie Crunch center Alex Killorn (top white) has not completely carried the puck over the blue line and into the attacking zone. But the linesman, despite his position, did not blown the play dead and Connolly scored five seconds later.

Can't they fix it with the AHL's new video replay system implemented this year? Actually, offside isn't one of the things that can be reviewed to see if a goal is legal. And according to AHL rule 84.3:
Other than in situations involving a delayed off-side and the puck entering the goal, no goal can be disallowed after the fact for an off-side violation, except for the human factor involved in blowing the whistle.
The former bit pertains to situations like this one in last year's Calder Cup Finals. Which, by the way, the AHL later said should not have counted. However, the result stood. That human factor bit pertains to the intent of blowing the whistle versus actually blowing the whistle. Referees can determine play actually stops a split-second before he blows the whistle, but in this case we're talking five full seconds.Totally understand that no one is perfect and the linesman does not have the chance to take a screenshot before making the call, but that doesn't make it any less a tough break for Adirondack.

They did storm back, though. Zack FitzGerald had himself a day, scoring the 11th goal of his eight-year AHL career just 77 seconds later. Then he fought Eric Neilson for the second time and punched him in the head five or six times before Neilson even got one punch in. Adirondack responded by outshooting Syracuse 8-2 the rest of the period, and David Laliberte scored to tie it 2-2.

That was the second time that FitzGerald really gave the team a shot of energy Friday.

They had one of their slowest starts of the season, getting outshot 16-3 in a ridiculously penalty-filled first period (less than half of it was played at even strength), before Mike Angelidis scored on a wraparound at the 14:33 mark. FitzGerald fought Neilson right off the ensuing face-off, and the Phantoms didn't allow another shot for eight minutes.

FitzGerald, a healthy scratch in four straight games and 26 of Adirondack's first 45 games was inserted into the line-up because Tyler Brown came down with the flu. But if one of the team's main concerns is a lack of energy and passion, having a guy like FitzGerald in the line-up is a solution.

He had a direct and measurable impact on the result of this game, at a time when they needed it.

Matt Konan, Brown's roommate, also had the flu. Jeff Dimmen was in the line-up for him. Dimmen, teammates with a lot of the Crunch players in Norfolk last season, had been scratched in six straight after Erik Gustafsson returned from his fractured tibia. Dimmen set up Laliberte's goal with a chip pass from his own zone that moved up the boards to Akeson, who found Laliberte behind the defense.

But Richard Panik buried the rebound of his own blocked shot midway through the third period and Connolly probably tipped in a goal that's been credited to Philip-Michael Devos with 2:30 to go. That winds up being your ballgame. These two teams are back at it at the Civic Center at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Around the AHL Friday night, Norfolk beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-1 behind three-point nights from Jay Rosehill and former Adirondack Frostbite Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (good night for tough guys, right?), so the Admirals overtake the Phantoms in the standings. Adirondack, with its 39 points, is now in sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference.

At the other end of the spectrum, the feel-good story of the night has to come from Oklahoma City. Defenseman Brandon Davidson was back in the Barons' line-up just three months after he underwent successful treatment for testicular cancer. Meanwhile, Charlotte is preparing for the Nash Bowl.

The Phantoms are supposed to practice tomorrow, but I have the day off and there is a snowstorm. Both of those things may prevent me from heading to the Civic Center for practice. I would expect the next update before Sunday's game. If you get one Saturday afternoon, well, that's a bonus.

Until next time,


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