Friday, March 29, 2013

Senators 5, Phantoms 2 3/29

With a 6-3-0-1 record in their past 10 games, it looked like the Adirondack Phantoms had finally gotten themselves off the schneid that had caused them to spend a month in the AHL’s cellar.

Then they ran into Cole Schneider.

The rookie winger scored two goals and set up two more as the Binghamton Senators raced out to a 4-0 lead and went on to beat the Phantoms 5-2 Friday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

Schneider’s four points were a career high, and it became apparent early that he had the Midas touch.

He was awarded a penalty shot after Phantoms defenseman Matt Konan tripped him up on a shorthanded breakaway, then skated in on goalie Cal Heeter and scored despite having his stick break in half mid-shot.

With a new stick in hand, Schenider scored 62 seconds later at even-strength to put Binghamton up 2-0 just 15:33 into the first period.

Later, in the second period, he set up Pat Cannone and Mark Borowiecki as the Senators capitalized on two rushes to go up 4-0 before the period was six minutes old.

That would be plenty of run support for goalie Nathan Lawson, who made 37 saves.

But Jason Akeson cut the lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal later in the second period, becoming the first Adirondack Phantoms player to record 100th career point with the team, and Eric Wellwood made it 4-2 in the third period with his own power-play tally. He batted the rebound of Jon Sim’s shot out of mid-air.

However, Binghamton’s Derek Grant squashed any hopes of a comeback a little less than five minutes after Wellwood’s goal by jamming Wacey Hamilton’s rebound past Heeter (35 saves) with 12:25 to play.

At least three Binghamton goals came as a result of poor puck management, which has been one of the Phantoms’ weaknesses all season. Schneider was awarded the penalty shot after the Phantoms turned the puck over at the blue line and Borowiecki found him with an outlet pass. The second and third came as Adirondack dumped the puck in and either did not recover it, or turned it over immediately after it did. By capitalizing on those errors, Binghamton (40-21-1-5) became the second team in the AHL to reach the 40-win mark this season.

The loss dropped the Phantoms’ record to 27-34-2-3. Their 34 regulation losses are the most in the AHL, and they are 12 points out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with 10 games to play.

The Phantoms remain one point ahead of the Hamilton Bulldogs, who also lost Friday, for outright last place in the league. They host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center.

Adirondack was without defenseman Oliver Lauridsen, who was called up to the Philadelphia Flyers earlier Friday. With Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury, Lauridsen could make his NHL debut Saturday when the Flyers host Boston. He had produced 1-5-6 in 59 games with Adirondack, and had been a steady presence on the team’s penalty kill. He became the 11th Phantoms player to get called up to the Flyers this season, and the third since Monday.

The Phantoms, who also lost Erik Gustaffson to a call-up since their last game, got some reinforcements on the blue line as Brandon Manning and Cullen Eddy returned to the line-up after missing four and two games, respectively, with minor injuries. However, those two combined to finish a minus-six.

More before the Bridgeport game.
— MC


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