Phantoms 2, Falcons 1 3/8
Great song, but given the theme of the night, perhaps "The Final Countdown" was in order.
Europeans Marcel Noebels and Oliver Lauridsen provided the offense as the Adirondack Phantoms handed the American Hockey League-leading Springfield Falcons a 2-1 defeat at the Civic Center.
The Phantoms have three Europeans on the roster (defenseman Andreas Lilja is the other) and 21 from North America. They are in the overwhelming minority, but they have bragging rights today.
"We'll take that," Lauridsen said with a laugh. "It's got to be our night once in a while."
Lauridsen's goal, his first of the season, snapped a 1-1 tie early in the third period and stood as the game-winner after goalie Michael Leighton made 31 saves for his first win since April 2012.
Focused on Lauridsen in the game story, and how he made the right read on joining the rush there to snap a shot past Falcons goalie Curtis McElhinney. Phantoms coach Terry Murray said he's been seeing that a lot more from Lauridsen, regarded as more of a stay-at-home type, in recent games.
A couple of schools of thought here. Here's Danny Syvret, Lauridsen's defense partner:
“I’ve been trying to convince him that he’s a better shooter than he thinks. A lot of times, I think he’s afraid to get it blocked or I don’t know if he has the confidence in himself sometimes to let his shot go, because he’s got probably one of the heaviest in the league.”Lauridsen has recorded nine shots in four games in March. He had three shots in all of February.
“We’ve also been playing way better hockey than what we have been in the past couple of games,” Lauridsen said. “When we start to make plays and the forwards start giving us some room, it’s a little easier to jump into the play. Especially for me, when my focus is mostly on the d-side of it.”
I don't think that the scouting report on Lauridsen will ever begin with anything but his size -- he's 6-foot-6 and his game is really about clearing people away from the front of the net and blocking shots -- but if he can harness his shot and use it to his advantage, it can only help his NHL prospects.
“In practice, he tones it down. … He usually tries to keep it low, because he could probably break collarbones if he let it go a little bit,” Syvret said.
Lots of other guys contributed in this one. Tyler Brown jitterbugged around a Falcons defender to beat out an icing in the first period, and added an assist on Lauridsen's goal. Mitch Wahl recorded his first assist with the Phantoms on Noebels' power play goal, and Ian Slater made a great pass to pick up the primary assist on Lauridsen's goal. Murray said after the game that it was important for the Phantoms to come out swinging in the first period, because they didn't last week in Springfield and the Falcons had basically won the game by the time the first period was over, taking a big 3-0 lead.
"For a team that struggles to score and then has to play against a team that traps real well was tough on us," Syvret said. "That was one of the points before the game, to make sure we had a real good start and make sure we were playing the game hard the whole way."
Springfield outscored them 9-2 in the parts of the doubleheader that were played last Friday. Did those losses provide some sort of added motivation for the Phantoms tonight? Well, yes and no. They were more upset with the overall theme of last week, when they lost four times in less than 48 hours.
"It seemed like a frustrating week of practice," Syvret said. "Almost like we just wanted to play another game rather than sit back and have to practice a full week off of four losses in a row. I was really happy (with) the way we played. I thought we played a really good game, didn't give up many chances. We're sort of accustomed to giving up a few glorious chances in the slot. I don't think Mike had to stop too many of those."
Here's Slater on his first AHL point, which came in his 24th game.
"I understand my role and what I need to do each and every night. At times, it is frustrating when you're not adding on the scoreboard or on the score sheet, but you have to make an impact aside from that. It was nice to finally get my first point, share the assist with Brownie and then add to Ollie's goal."Murray called it one of Adirondack's more complete games of the season, but he had some bad news at the end. Noebels, who scored a great power-play goal in the first period off a pass from Matt Ford, injured his foot when he went for a check in the first period and did not return. He kicked the boards, Murray said, and Nobels probably won't play tomorrow and is likely out for the rest of the weekend.
It's a little early to say if Noebels would be able to play next week, Murray said.
I'll be in Utica tomorrow covering Saratoga Springs High School's quest for a state hockey title, which you can read more about here, but my colleague Andrew Champagne will be providing the blog updates. I'll have a little bit on the blog after Sunday's game, which I may also miss if Saratoga wins. But we'll have a freelancer there, so we will also have a story online after that game as well.
Until next time,