Phantoms Weekly: 20 games in
Phantoms get set for a tough 3 in 3 stretch
The Adirondack Phantoms play three games in three days this weekend including a Saturday night home game that is sandwiched in the middle of a couple of away games on Friday and Sunday.
Adirondack recently completed their longest homestand of the season and went 3-3-0 in their six-game series over the past two weeks. The Phantoms are still in the midst of a long stretch of home games that has the team playing 10 out of 12 at the Glens Falls Civic Center through December 19.
The Phantoms head out to Rochester for the second and final time this season for a Friday night game at the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. Adirondack pulled out an exciting 2-1 win in their last visit there about a month ago.
The lone home game of the weekend is Saturday night and it's a biggie. The Syracuse Crunch are the opponents and the team that is essentially the defending Calder Cup Champions (when they were the Norfolk Admirals last year before an affiliation switch) are back on top of the Eastern Conference at 13-5-2. Saturday is Phantoms T-Shirt Night for the first 2,500 fans in attendance and is also Pasta Night at Heritage Hall with the pregame buffet for only $12 beginning at 5:30.
Then the Phantoms play their third Sunday afternoon contest and their first since October when they travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins at 4:05. The black and orange will be well represented at the Dunkin Donuts Center as part of the first Phantoms Fun Bus road-trip for the fans this year.
The Phantoms are 9-11-0 overall but did not lose ground in the Northeast Division as the teams directly ahead of them lost games last week. Adirondack's 18 points place them in the fourth spot in the division but they are only two behind third-place Connecticut and just three points back of second-place Bridgeport.
20 games into the season is roughly the one-quarter mark into the 2012-13 regular season schedule of 76 total games.
Brayden Schenn leads the Phantoms with nine goals and 22 points this season and is fifth in the AHL and third in the Eastern Conference.
Harry Zolnierczyk is the hottest scorer lately with three goals in the last three games while Rob Bordson has three goals in his last five games.
Jason Akeson rejoined Adirondack just two weeks ago and already has seven assists in his first six games including a three-game point streak as well as points in five out of six.
The Adirondack Phantoms were involved in a couple of transactions this week as the Philadelphia Flyers reassigned two players.
Matt Konan, defenseman, has been brought up to Adirondack from Trenton (ECHL). The rookie from Tustin, Cal. began the season with the Phantoms while rehabbing from his injury although he was never activated on the roster. He was then assigned to Trenton a couple weeks ago where he played in five games, his first as a pro. Konan set career highs last season in Major Juniors with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League with nine goals and 44 assists.
Matt Mangene, forward, has been reassigned to Trenton of the ECHL for extra work there. The speedy winger out of the University of Maine had played in four games with the Phantoms this year before sustaining an upper-body injury at Syracuse on October 28. He has not seen game-action since. Mangene was signed by the Flyers in April of last season and immediately assigned to the Phantoms where he played in five games over the last two weekends of the 2011-12 season. He scored 16 goals for the Maine Black Bears last year.
February Game in Philadelphia
The Phantoms will play in Philadelphia at the Wells-Fargo Center on Friday, February 22 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Phantoms Season Ticket Holders can redeem their "FLEX" ticket to that game by contacting the Phantoms office. Fans will have the opportunity to sit in a great club box!
Others can purchase tickets to the game by contacting the Wells Fargo Center at 215-218-7825.
Saratoga Spine Phantoms Player of the Week - Harry Zolnierczyk
His blazing speed up the left-wing last Friday night led to one of the best goals in Adirondack Phantoms' history. The shorthanded lamplighter against Binghamton tied the score at 4-4 at the time and brought everyone to their feet in disbelief at how he was able to burn past the Senators defenseman, turn the corner sharply, and then deke out goalie Ben Bishop for the highlight reel goal.
Zolnierczyk had three goals last week including two in that game. He is now second on the team in goals with seven. The Brown University standout split his time 50/50 between the Phantoms and Philadelphia Flyers last year. He had eight goals and 13 assists in 39 games with Adirondack. Up with Philly, he played in 37 games scoring three goals and three assists.
25 year old captain Ben Holmstrom is racking up the games as he looks to become the all-time leader in Adirondack Phantoms history. Entering this week, Holmstrom has played in 179 career games with Adirondack which included 79 out of 80 in his rookie season.
Holmstrom's 36 career goals with the Adirondack Phantoms is second all-time behind only Denis Hamel who had 48. And his 89 career points are also second all-time behind Hamel who had 96.
Last year, Holmstrom became the youngest captain in Phantoms franchise history when he was named to the position at just 24 year old. Boyd Kane (now with the Hershey Bears) had been the previous youngest captain when he was 25 with the Philadelphia Phantoms.
Scott Munroe was a standout goalie for the Phialdelphia Phantoms from 2006-09. And now he's back with the Adirondack Phantoms in 2012-13 to add to his impressive totals. He has 70 career wins as a Phantoms which places him one behind Antero Nittymaki for second place all-time in franchise history. Neil Little holds the all-time record with 177 wins. Munroe has 3987 career saves with the Phantoms an is just 13 shy of reaching the 4000 milestone.
He has 5928 total saves in his AHL career which has also included stints with Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and is just 72 away from the 6000 milestone.
No Shootouts For You
The Adirondack Phantoms are the only team in the AHL who have yet to play a shootout this season. Their only extra-session game didn't take very long either; Brandon Manning scored just 14 seconds into overtime at Syracuse on October 28.
Key Team Stats
- The Phantoms are 7-3-0 when they lead or are tied at the first intermission
- Adirondack is 8-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal. The Phantoms are 1-8-0 when they do not score a PPG.
- The Phantoms are 7-1-0 when they score 3 or more goals
Rochester Americans, 9-8-2 (Buffalo Sabres)
The Phantoms make their second and last visit to Rochester this season. The season series is tied at 1-1 with both teams taking decisions on each others' home-ice. Adirondack traveled to western New York on November 7 and pulled out an exciting 2-1 victory with Garrett Roe's game-winner breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the third. Cal Heeter outdueled David Leggio in the tremendous goaltenders' battle. Rochester is the only Western Conference opponent the Phantoms play this year.
The Americans have been slumping. They are winless in their last three straight (0-2-1) and have only one win in their last six (1-4-1).
Record - 9-8-2
Division - 4th place (North Division, Western Conf)
Arena - Blue Cross Arena
Head Coach - Ron Rolston
Offense - 3.3, 8th (out of 30)
Defense - 3.1, 22nd
Power Play - 18.8%, 9th
Penalty Kill - 84.4%, 11th
Leading scorer: Marcus Foligno - 6-13-19.
Last year in NHL played 14 games and scored 6 goals and 7 assists.
Younger brother of Nick Foligno (351 career NHL games with Ottawa, 61 goals)
Son of Mike Foligno, popular Buffalo Sabre in the 1980s, 355 career NHL goals, former head coach of Hershey 1998-2003.
Cody Hodgson - 1-9-10 this season. 2nd in AHL in assists. Has been out with injury for last month.
#10 overall selection in 2008 draft by Vancouver. Acquired in trade last February. 19 combined goals in NHL last year with VAN and BUF.
Luke Adam - 2-3-5 this season. Buffalo Round 2 selection in 2008. 10 goals with Buffalo last year. 29 goals in AHL in 2010-11 with Portland and named AHL Rookie of the Year.
T.J. Brennan - 9-9-18 this season. 2nd AHL defenseman goals and points.
16-14-30 last year with Rochester. 11 games with Buffalo.
Bryan Flynn - 8-8-16 this season. Free-agent rookie out of University of Maine. 5th in AHL rookie goals and points.
David Leggio - 9-8-0, 2.92, .889. Third year pro out of Clarkson University. Had string of 35 consecutive regular-season and playoff starts end in early November when rookie backup Connor Knapp (0-2-0, 3.57, .873) got a chance.
Head Coach Ron Rolston - Second season. Previously head coach of national USA under-18 team for seven seasons winning three IIHF gold medals. Younger brother of Brian Rolston (342 goals in 17 seasons with NJ, BOS, MIN).
Syracuse Crunch, 13-5-2 (Tampa Bay Lightning)
The Crunch are mad. The group of players that won the Calder Cup last year as the Norfolk Admirals lost two out of three games last weekend, something that had not happened to them since last February. And their only win was very nearly a loss as well as they overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period at Connecticut to post a dramatic 4-3 victory in overtime.
Still, the Crunch are in first place in the Eastern Conference and appear to have mostly picked up where they left off last year when they went on an incredible professional-hockey record 28-game win streak and then cruised to the league championship. Syracuse is the highest scoring team in the league and feature a deep and potent offensive attack.
The Syracuse players received their championship rings earlier this week in a private ceremony. Jeff Dimmen of the Adirondack Phantoms played with this group in Norfolk last year and was also there to receive his commemorative ring.
Record - 13-5-2
Division - 1st Place (East Division)
Arena - Onodonga County War Memorial at Oncenter
Head Coach - Jon Cooper (3rd Season)
Offense - 3.7, 1st (out of 30)
Defense - 2.7, 7th
Power Play - 17.5%, 13th
Penalty Kill - 88.6%, 3rd
Cory Conacher - 9-10-19. AHL MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2011-12 with 39-41-80. Undrafted speedster out of Canisius College. Related to Hockey Hall of Famers Charlie Conacher (1929-41 mostly with Toronto), Roy Conacher (1938-1952 Boston, Chicago), Lionel Conacher (1925-37 NY Americans, Montreal Maroons).
Tyler Johnson - 15-8-23. Leads AHL in goals. Second-year pro had a tremendous rookie season with 31 goals and 37 assists. Led WHL with 53 goals for Spokane in 2010-11.
Brett Connolly - 7-10-17. Played in 68 games with the Lightning in his rookie season scoring four goals.
Mike Angeledis- 4-0-4. Captain of the Crunch and former captain of the Albany River Rats The center played for Albany for four seasons from 2006-10. Will take many of the team's key face-offs.
Riku Helenius - 5-2-0, 3.04, .878. First round pick of TB in 2006 (#15 overall). Back in the U.S. after last three seasons in Finland and Sweden. His last season in the AHL was 2008-09 with Norfolk (9-15-0, 2.72, .918)
Dustin Tokarski - 8-4-1, 2.31, .908. Went 32-11-0, .913, 2.23 last year with Norfolk in helping lead the team to the Calder Cup. Broke Michael Leighton's Admirals record for most career wins. Leighton had 75 victories.
Led the Spokane Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup and was goaltender for Team Canada's fifth consecutive gold medal at 2009 World Juniors.
Jon Cooper - Was a shoe-in for Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for AHL Coach of the Year honors leading Norfolk to Calder Cup championship, 28-game win streak, and 45-3 finish in regular and post-season combined from February through June.
Providence Bruins, 9-8-2 (Boston Bruins)
Adirondack travels to the Dunkin Donuts Center for their only visit in 2012-13. The Bruins will come to Glens Falls on December 28. Providence has gone 3-1-1 in their last five games as they try to climb out of last place in the Atlantic Division.
The Black and Orange will be well represented in Rhode Island for this one with the first fan road-trip on the Phantoms Fun Bus.
Record - 9-8-2
Division - Atlantic (Fifth)
Arena - Dunkin Donuts Center
Head Coach - Bruce Cassidy (Second)
Offense - 2.3. 28th
Defense - 2.9, 10th
Power Play - 16.9%, 16th
Penalty Kill - 77.6%, 28th
Chris Bourque - 2-12-14 this season. Son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and older brother of Connecticut Whale Ryan Bourque. Long-time Hershey Bears left wing since 2005-06. Led the AHL in points (93) and assists (66) last year. Five times 20+ goals in AHL including 27 last year with Hershey. #33 overall, round 2, 2004 draft by Washington.
Ryan Spooner - 5-8-13 this season. #45 overall, Round 2, 2010 draft.
Jamie Tardiff - 7-3-10. Leads P-Bruins in goals. AHL veteran played for Grand Rapids from 2006-07 through 2010-11. Career-high 27 goals with Griffins in 2010-11. Second season with Bruins.
Christian Hanson - 3-5-8. Born in Glens Falls. Son of Dave Hanson who played for the Adirondack Red Wings from 1980-82 and is most famous for his role as Jack Hanson in the movie classic Slap Shot.
Niklas Svedberg - 8-4-1, 2.39, .920. 23-year-old from Sweden in his rookie season in North America.
Bruce Cassidy - 2nd season as head coach of Providence after three years as assistant coach. Head coach of Washington Capitals 2002-03 and beginning of 2003-04. Also was head coach of Grand Rapids (AHL) and Kingston (OHL). First round selection (18th overall) of Chicago in 1993. Playing career mostly with Indianapolis and Saginaw of IHL.