HARTFORD, Conn – Special teams won the day in Hartford on Saturday night, as the Adirondack Phantoms converted their first four power play tries, picking up a decisive 5-2 win over the Connecticut Whale. The Phantoms’ top line of Tye McGinn, Garrett Roe and Jason Akeson produced a combined nine points to snap a four-game Whale winning streak.
Near the midway mark of the first period, Logan Pyett turned the puck around on the wall in the defensive end, allowing Nick Palmieri to collect the bank at the blueline. Palmieri, whose offensive presence has been steadily increasing in the last few games, fed the puck ahead for Ryan Bourque, who hit the left circle with quick feet and snapped a shot between the legs of Adirondack netminder Cal Heeter. Bourque’s seventh of the year came at 11:09, and was his second goal since returning from injury last week.
Adirondack picked up their first score following an Andrew Carroll interference minor at 15:49. With just over three minutes left in the period, Danny Syvret shot a bomb through traffic and hit the inside of the pipe. Jason Missiaen, in his fifth straight start, was called upon for three big stops thereafter, but the fourth one beat him, when Phantom newcomer Kyle Flanagan fed the middle for David Laliberte’s one-timer, which deflected off Dylan McIlrath and Marcel Noebels. Flanagan, who led St. Lawrence University in the assist column for three straight years, picked up his first pro point in his first pro period, after signing an Amateur Tryout two days ago.
The matchup was tied through one period, but Adirondack would score twice in the second. Blake Parlett was called for slashing Mitch Wahl, and right off the draw Syvret beat Missiaen at 5:53, getting assists from Akeson and Jon Sim on his sixth of the year. Whale coach Ken Gernander said afterwards, “We had some breakdowns, obviously. We were on the kill too much. We had a couple ‘0-for’ (meaning perfect penalty kill) nights leading up to tonight. Sometimes it starts with a faceoff, we couldn’t win a faceoff.”
Now trailing 2-1, Connecticut almost converted a broken play in which Benn Ferriero almost corralled a puck that kicked unusually off a stanchion, moments before another funny kick off the wall nearly landed on Bourque’s stick.
With five and a half left in the second, McGinn pushed the puck behind the net to Akeson, who found Roe on the goal line for a dead angle shot that snuck through Missiaen, earning a 3-1 edge. The score would be Adirondack’s only even strength goal of the night.
Despite the Whale being outshot 26-12 at this point in the game, Brandon Segal was part of yet another timely Whale goal. Starting with a sliding shutdown play by Mike Vernace in the defensive end, Logan Pyett moved the puck straight up for Benn Ferriero, and then onwards to Segal who leaned in on his opposition and went cross crease before going top shelf on Heeter to cut the deficit in half with just 4.5 seconds on the clock. Segal said afterwards, “We scored in the second and we came to the locker room feeling better about ourselves.” But the momentum didn’t carry over after the break.
In the third, Vernace was called for interfering with Sim at 5:45 and Adirondack converted quickly one more time. Quick high to low puck movement, followed by a nifty backhand pass from McGinn, allowed Akeson to finish his 14th just 10 seconds after the power play commenced.
Parlett found himself in the box again after hooking Tyler Brown following a breakdown, and Syvret gave a one-timer to Roe at the top of the circle to convert the fourth straight man-up situation at 7:25.
Despite having four power play tries of their own, Connecticut didn’t generate many chances against the perfect Phantom penalty kill. Segal shared some of Gernander’s sentiments as well regarding special teams, “Terrible penalties we took tonight, and we couldn’t help the guys that took them. We needed a big kill in the third, didn’t get it and that was it. They kind of picked us apart, it was a disappointing effort. Our identity is being great in the corners and a great cycling team. Tonight we just couldn’t get it together, generate anything, just one of those games. Tomorrow’s another day.” The final game of the weekend will be played Sunday at 3pm against the Binghamton Senators at the XL Center.
Missiaen finished with 30 saves on 35 shots against, while Heeter put together a sturdy performance with 22 saves.
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