The Adirondack Phantoms had their chances with seven power plays and a few breakaway opportunities but weren't able to push enough past Albany goalie Jeff Frazee in a 2-1 decision on Saturday night at the Times Union Center. The Devils moved back out to a 2 games to 1 advantage in the Time Warner Cable Cup with still nine games remaining in the regular season series.
Adirondack split their weekend series of road games with a 2-1 win at Rochester on Friday night followed by the setback at Albany by the same score 24 hours later.
Eric Wellwood scored for Adirondack in the second period for his first of the year and Scott Munroe made some terrific saves in the loss particularly in a 14 shot first period with Albany getting several power plays and coming out strong.
Wellwood's goal came as the Phantoms were trailing 1-0 in the second period. He carried the puck out in front of the net on the right side. After hesitating, he decided to not drive at the net to jam it in because he saw his opening to shoot it home from where he was. Wellwood played in 26 games with Philadelphia last season scoring five goals and was considered a good bet to be part of the Flyers' roster this year as well. He scored 16 goals with Adirondack as a professional rookie two seasons ago.
The big change in the game came early in the third period when Brandon Manning found Tye McGinn on the back-door for a potential tie-breaking goal. But Frazee slid over just in time and got a right leg on McGinn's shot for his most jaw-dropping save of the evening. Mere seconds after McGinn was robbed on his close call to give the Phantoms the lead, Albany was able to rush back the other way and Matt Anderson converted on a 3-on-2 rush shooting off the underside of the crossbar over Munroe's left shoulder on the short-side.
The Phantoms had another great chance late in the third period when Jacob Josefsson was banished to the penalty box with 2:30 remaining for a boarding hit on Garrett Roe and then Adirondack removed the goaltender to create a 6-on-4 attack. But Albany weathered that late drive as well and hung on for the win.
Both teams went 0-for-7 on the power play. Adirondack remains undefeated in games in which they score a power play goal; 5-0-0.
An even better chance for the Phantoms came late in the second period when they had 1:30 for a 5-on-3 advantage after back-to-back Albany penalties including a too many men infraction. But Adirondack was not able to get set up as the Devils defenders picked off a couple of entry attempts.
Head coach Terry Murray thought that was a big key to the evening. "The one power play that you have to take advantage of that is the critical turning point of the game I thought was the 5-on-3," Murray said. "We missed those opportunities and we didn't get it set up. We didn't have the offensive zone time to get anything going or generate any shots on net even. It's a missed opportunity and a golden opportunity."
On the other end of the ice, Murray liked his team's tenacity in killing off seven Devils power plays. In each of their last two games against Albany, the Phantoms have held the Devils to 0-for-7. "I thought the penalty killing was very good early in the game," Murray said. "They had three consecutive power plays in the first period and I thought we did a real good job with our kills."
Then there were a couple other chances for Adirondack when they were shorthanded; Back-to-back breakaways with players coming out of the penalty box in the second period. Brayden Schenn backhand flipped a lead perfectly up the ice to an open Brandon Manning who had just rejoined play. But Manning was denied by Frazee on the right leg-pad. A few seconds later, Marc-Andre Bourdon would come out of the penalty box and receive a pass for his opportunity but with a defenseman getting the angle on him Bourdon would smartly drop the puck to a wide open Harry Zolnierczyk trailing on the play who shot it off the side of the post then banking off of Frazee's right leg and out.
Zolnierczyk had a near-breakaway run earlier in the game as well. His 2-on-1 rush with Shane Harper cutting up the middle in the closing seconds of the first period was another of Adirondack's great scoring chances they created. Zolnierczyk took the shot himself from the left circle and Frazee was able to get the left leg on the big blast to deny the effort for a far-post goal just as time expired in a wild and exciting opening frame. That first period resulted in zero goals but it came on 24 combined shots including 14 from Albany onto a steady and impressive looking Scott Munroe.
Lots of chances created for Adirondack throughout the night but sometimes the goalie makes the big saves and this time Albany benefited from such an effort out of Frazee. The Phantoms had some very good goaltending out of Scott Munroe as well but the offense simply wasn't able to give him enough goals to turn it into a win.
Adirondack's record now stands at 5-6-0. Albany ended their four-game losing slide to improve to 3-5-2.
Sean Couturier was out of the lineup for the second night in a row as he continued to battle the flu bug. But Murray said that Couturier is feeling better so there is optimism that he will be able to return to the lineup for the Phantoms next game which is Wednesday at 10:00 am at the Manchester Monarchs.
After the Wednesday morning game at Manchester, the Phantoms will then conclude their five-game road-trip with games next Friday and Saturday at Binghamton and Syracuse.
Adirondack's next home game is Wednesday, November 21 which is the day before Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Feast weekend of hockey at the Glens Falls Civic Center also features games on Black Friday and that Saturday. It is also the beginning of a six-game homestand for the Phantoms, their longest of the season.
Game 4 of the 12-game Time Warner Cable Cup Series will take place at the end of that homestand on December 1 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Adirondack Phantoms 1 at Albany Devils 2 - Status: Final
Saturday, November 10, 2012 - Times Union Center
Adirondack 0 1 0 - 1
Albany 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Manning Adk (interference), 3:22; Zolnierczyk Adk (interference), 8:05; Gustafsson Adk (tripping), 13:25; Butler Alb (hooking), 13:33.
2nd Period-1, Albany, Butler 1 (Whitney, Corrente), 13:44. 2, Adirondack, Wellwood 1 17:37. Penalties-McPherson Alb (slashing), 3:04; Wiseman Alb (slashing), 5:15; Rinaldo Adk (slashing), 6:44; Manning Adk (roughing), 8:48; Bourdon Adk (roughing), 10:17; Sestito Alb (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:09; served by Butler Alb (bench minor - too many men), 18:40.
3rd Period-3, Albany, Anderson 2 (Josefson, Wiseman), 3:41. Penalties-Wellwood Adk (hooking), 5:12; Urbom Alb (interference), 11:58; Gustafsson Adk (diving), 14:08; Corrente Alb (cross-checking), 14:08; Bourdon Adk (roughing), 15:45; Kelly Alb (roughing), 15:45; Josefson Alb (boarding), 17:32.
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 10-8-5-23. Albany 14-6-11-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 7; Albany 0 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Munroe 3-3-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Albany, Frazee 2-1-1 (23 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Trevor Hanson (47).
Linesmen-Mike Emanatian (69), Frank Murphy (29).
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