Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adirondack 4, Norfolk 1 3/19

The Adirondack Phantoms will go to bed Tuesday night knowing some welcome news.

For the first time in more than one month, they are not last in the American Hockey League.

Tye McGinn had two goals and two assists and Brian Boucher made 27 saves as the Phantoms beat the Norfolk Admirals 4-1 Tuesday at Scope Arena, and picked up their 54th and 55th points of the season.

That allowed them to leapfrog the idle Hamilton Bulldogs, who have 54 points, in the AHL standings.

Adirondack (25-32-2-3) had been the team with the fewest points in the 30-team AHL since a Feb. 16 loss to the Worcester Sharks. That began a stretch during which the Phantoms lost seven of their eight games, but Tuesday marked the fifth time in the past seven games that they amassed at least one point (4-2-0-1).

McGinn, whose four points were a single-game career high, factored in every Adirondack goal Tuesday.

In doing so, he established a new career high in goals and points. He has 13 and 22, respectively, in 37 AHL games this season after producing just 12 and 18 during his 68-game rookie campaign last year.

The winger was undoubtedly a big reason why the Phantoms built a 3-0 lead midway through regulation.

First, he found Garrett Roe with an outlet pass and Roe dangled through two defenders before hitting a trailing Erik Gustafsson with a pass. Gustafsson scored the opening goal from the left-wing dot at 8:58.

In the second period, he took a stretch pass from Jason Akeson and got in alone on goalie Frederik Andersen (27 saves), going to his backhand to double the lead exactly 20 minutes after Gustafsson scored.

Only 72 seconds after that, McGinn set up Danny Syvret’s power-play goal for a three-goal advantage.

That was more than enough for Boucher, who bounced back from a Sunday loss in which he allowed five goals on 24 shots.

He came within inches of a shutout, allowing only a third-period power-play goal to Devante Smith-Pelley, who cut toward the net and slid the puck through Boucher’s pads to make it 3-1.

But McGinn added an empty-netter with less than 15 seconds to go to restore Adirondack’s three-goal lead.

The Phantoms are 3-0 against Norfolk (29-28-4-1) this season, and they can sweep the four-game season series with a win against the Admirals Wednesday at Scope. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m.

Now, some loose ends.

The Phantoms officially signed winger Derek Mathers to an amateur try-out contract before the game. No surprises there. Mathers, a 6-foot-3 19-year-old, was Philadelphia’s seventh-round pick in 2011, and had 10-19-29 and 125 penalty minutes in 64 OHL games with Peterborough this year. The Petes were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, allowing their players to join pro teams.

The Phantoms are also reportedly poised to add another player later this week.

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed St. Lawrence product Kyle Flanagan, according to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie, and the 5-foot-9 forward is poised to join Adirondack on an amateur try-out on Friday. He had 15 goals, 32 assists and 47 points in 35 games with St. Lawrence this season, which places him ninth overall in the nation's collegiate scoring race. Here's a good read on the Canton native, in which he discusses playing for and captaining what is basically his hometown team.

The Philadelphia Flyers reassigned winger Harry Zolnierczyk to Adirondack Monday night, after he finished serving his four-game NHL suspension. He went scoreless in Tuesday's game.

Akeson and Gustafsson each had two points, giving them 95 and 94 in their respective careers with the Phantoms. Denis Hamel is the team’s all-time scoring leader with 96 points in 140 games. Gustafsson has played 141 games, but Akeson has played 16 fewer than Hamel. Pretty remarkable that he spent the first month or so of the year in the ECHL, and he could lead the team in scoring.

Until next time,
MC

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