Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers
 

Ford, Johnston take away lessons from preseason game

Tuesday, 10.02.2012 / 6:38 PM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
X
Share with your Friends


Ford, Johnston take away lessons from preseason game

VOORHEES, N.J. – For Matt Ford and Andrew Johnston, Tuesday afternoon brought different emotions at the hockey rink.

Even though the two have spent a large percentage of their young lives playing the sport of hockey, it was safe to say this one afternoon at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone, the place that played host to an exhibition loss by the Adirondack Phantoms to the Albany Devils by a score of 5-3, Ford and Johnston were on different clouds.

Ford, who turns 28 next Tuesday, is in the midst of his fifth AHL training camp, but his first with the Phantoms. This is old hat for the veteran, who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round (which no longer exists) of the 2004 NHL entry draft but chose to play four years of collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin, never signing with the ’Hawks.

He went the wringer, bouncing back and forth between the ECHL and the AHL on try-out contracts that last 25 days at a time. He earned a tryout in training camp with the Colorado Avalanche in 2010, but didn’t make the team and went back to the AHL where he posted a career best season to that point for the Lake Erie Monsters, tallying 26 goals and 42 points in 76 games.

That earned him his first pro deal, and he signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Washington Capitals, but didn’t make the team out of camp, being shipped to Hershey.

Halfway through last season, he was traded by the Caps to the Flyers in exchange for Kevin Marshall.

Upon his arrival to the Phantoms he averaged a point per game – scoring 19 goals and adding 12 assists for 31 points in 31 games.

Combined with his numbers from Hershey, Ford finished with 29 goals, 30 assists and 59 points, all career highs.

Certainly a late bloomer, the Flyers decided to see if Ford could maintain his performance level or even improve it, and signed him to another one-year, two-way contract.

If Ford continues to produce, he could be a possible call-up to the big club to fill-in for an injured player once the season begins.

Add to the fact that Ford will be playing against teams that are stockpiled with players with NHL experience, and he knows that the time is ripe for him to prove that he can play at the game’s highest level.

“This is going to be the best hockey league I’ve ever played in,” Ford said. “I’m really excited to get going here. I know what it means and I know what’s at stake. I can’t wait to really get going.”

And although Tuesday was just a practice game – against an Albany team that was missing several of its best players, Ford got himself on the scoresheet in the second period.

With the Phantoms trailing 4-1, Ford positioned himself in front of the net and waited for the puck to come his way.

“Sean (Couturier) and Ty McGinn were battling for the puck on the half wall and Sean got the puck to the point,” Ford said. “Brandon Manning took a shot and it was a little high, but I was going to my net and was able to get my stick on it and re-direct it high blocker.”

Ford had a decent bite in the game, and although that was his only point in the contest, it seemed like he was frequently involved for the Phantoms, who were able to muster 47 shots on the Albany goalies.

“I thought we played well after being down 3-0 seven minutes in,” Ford said. “We have to work on our competition level, which was down at the start, but we definitely had plenty of chances out there.”

As for Johnston, there were definitely some butterflies.

After last playing in the Sasketchewan Junior Hockey League, which is a couple tiers below the other junior hockey leagues in Canada, to find himself suddenly playing pro – even in an exhibition game – was something special for Johnston.

“It was a great experience,” Johnston said. “But I’m on a learning curve right now because it’s a big jump coming from the SJHL to here. There were a couple shifts I’d like to have back, but I’m going to learn from it and move on.”

A heady player, Johnston said he wants to absorb what he learned Tuesday and use that to improve in time for his next game, which will likely come this weekend either Friday in New Jersey against the same Devils team, or in New York against the Connecticut Whale Saturday.

“The speed of the game is better here, but everyone is a lot stronger on their stick here than what I’m used to,” Johnston said. “So, I have to prepare myself for that moving forward.”

And moving forward is all the Phantoms can do at this point, and if they’re going to have a successful campaign, it appears guys like Ford and Johnston are going to have to be at the forefront of that charge.

………………….

Notes: The Phantoms had three 5-on-3 power play opportunities in the game, but only scored on one of them. All told they were 2-for-9 with the man advantage with goals by Danny Syvret and Ty McGinn… Sean Couturier quarterbacked the power play from the point on the two-man advantages, something he hadn’t done since junior hockey. He said the team didn’t even have time to work on it prior to Tuesday and was improvising on the ice. Still, they generated a ton of chances… Zac Rinaldo was a whirling dervish in the first period, hitting anything that moved and drawing a couple of penalties in the process.

“I just had to get some nerves out and stir some rough stuff up in the first period,” he said. “In the second and third period I just stuck to hockey.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2014 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.