Week 5 Recap:
The Phantoms started their Week 5 action with a trip up north as they headed to Toronto for a Friday night showdown with the Marlies. Adirondack Head Coach Greg Gilbert returned to Ricoh Coliseum for the first time since he coached the Marlies for three seasons (2006-2009). The game did not go according to plan as Toronto dominated the first period, out-shooting Adirondack 14-4 as they took a 2-0 lead. The Phantoms raised their energy in the second frame and ended up out-shooting the Marlies 15-11 over the final two periods, but Toronto goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped everything he saw for a 3-0 shutout win. However, the Phantoms rallied on Sunday afternoon as they came home and trashed the Syracuse Crunch 5-0. Johan Backlund made 20 saves to record his first career AHL shutout and Jon Matsumoto had two goals and one assist, including a short-handed penalty shot early in the second. Garrett Klotz scored his first career game-winning goal in the first period and captain Jared Ross posted two assists, setting up goals from Ryan Dingle and Jason Ward.
There was some exciting Phantoms news coming out of Philadelphia as right wing David Laliberte was called up by the Flyers on Friday and he made his impact felt immediately. The St. Liboire, Quebec native scored a goal and added one assist during his NHL debut on Saturday in a 6-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Then on Monday he scored another goal as the Flyers rolled over Tampa Bay 6-2. In two NHL games, Laliberte has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and has a +4 plus-minus rating. Week 6 Preview:
Adirondack did not have a lot of time after their five-goal win over Syracuse on Sunday to regroup as they travel to Bridgeport on Tuesday afternoon to face off with the Sound Tigers for a special school-day 11:00 am game Wednesday morning at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Phantoms have lost their last two road games, spanning back to a 3-2 nail-biting loss at Albany on October 24th, with their only road win of the year coming at Bridgeport on October 18th. Adirondack has one other game in Week 6 as they will face the Albany River Rats for the third time this season. So far the Phantoms are 0-1-1-0 against the Rats in their 12-game Time Warner Cable Cup series.
With Randy Jones being claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Kings last week, an injury to Sean Curry and Logan Stephenson receiving an automatic one-game suspension from the AHL due to his instigating misconduct penalty inside the last five minutes of Sunday’s game vs. Syracuse, the Phantoms have suddenly found their numbers on the blue line becoming slim. Tuesday morning Adirondack recalled defenseman David Sloane from the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL; Sloane attended the Flyers NHL training camp and the Phantoms AHL camp before being loaned by Adirondack to the K-Wings on October 1st. In five games with Kalamazoo this season he has two assists and a +2 plus-minus rating. Week 6 Schedule:
(All games are broadcast LIVE on Classic Hits Q-101.7 FM and can also be heard for free over the Internet at www.phantomshockey.com and can be viewed via internet pay-per-view video on www.ahllive.com.)
Wednesday, November 4 – 11:00 am – Arena at Harbor Yard – Bridgeport, CT
@ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7-6-0-0, 14 pts)
Third Place, Atlantic Division
• The Sound Tigers have had a roller coaster start to the 2009-10 season. Bridgeport won their first four games and was the only undefeated team in the AHL after Week 2. However, they lost the next four games to drop to .500, but have since won three of their last five to move back up to third in the Atlantic Division. Defenseman Mark Flood, who signed with the Islanders as a free-agent this summer, missed Bridgeport’s first nine games due to a torn ligament in his knee suffered during pre-season action. Flood has since returned to action, playing in the Sound Tigers last four games and recording 1 assist. An injury to rookie goalie Mikko Koskinen has halted Bridgeport’s three-goalie rotation; Nathan Lawson and former Phantom Scott Munroe have evenly split the last eight games. Lawson has won his last two starts, while Munroe has lost his last two outings.
• Leading Scorers: Greg Moore (C) – 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 13 GP & Trevor Smith (LW) – 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 13 GP.
• Leading Goaltender: Nathan Lawson (G) – 1.81 GAA, 0.944 save pct., 3-2-0 in 5 GP.
• Who’s Hot: Greg Mauldin (LW) – 2 goals in his last two games played. Trevor Smith (LW) – 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in his last five games played. Joe DiBenedetto (LW) – 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last five games played.
Saturday, November 7 – 7:00 pm – Times Union Center – Albany, NY
@ Albany River Rats (5-5-0-1, 11 pts)
Tied-Third Place, East Division
• Albany has struggled over the last few weeks, going 1-4-0-1 in their last six games. Over that span they have been out-scored 21-12, a -9 goal differential, and their only win during that stretch was a 3-2 win over Adirondack on October 24th at the Times Union Center. The River Rats special teams has come back to earth after an impressive early start to the year; Albany’s penalty kill has fallen from 1st to 12th in the AHL as they have allowed 6 power play goals in 43 opportunities. Their power play percentage has also dropped down to 20th in the league at 13.5% (7-for-52). Albany leads the Time Warner Cable Cup standings over the Phantoms 2-0 with ten more games between the two teams. The Rats lost the services of rookie center Brandon Sutter as he was recalled by Carolina; however the Hurricanes loaned defenseman Jay Harrison to Albany on Tuesday, providing the Rats with another experienced and physical blue liner.
• Leading Scorer: Jerome Samson (RW) – 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in 11 GP.
• Leading Goaltender: Justin Peters (G) – 2.48 GAA, 0.917 save pct., 4-3-1 in 8 GP.
• Who’s Hot: Pat Dwyer (RW) – 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in his last four games played. Zach Boychuk (LW) – 3 goals in his last five games played. Jerome Samson (RW) – 3 assists and a +1 rating in his last four games played.Week 5 Game Results:
October 30, 2009 Adirondack 0 @ Toronto 3
November 1, 2009 Syracuse 0 @ Adirondack 5 Phantoms Player of the Week: (Week 5)
Johan Backlund – G – #31
1 GP, 1-0-1, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 Sv.%, 1 Shutout
Goaltender Johan Backlund struggled with flu-like symptoms in Week 5, forcing him to miss several team practices and their trip to Toronto. He returned in dominate fashion as he made 20 saves in a 5-0 win over Syracuse on Sunday afternoon to record his first career AHL shutout. Although he only faced 20 shots on goal, he had to make several stunning saves, including a beautiful denial of Crunch captain Derek MacKenzie’s short-handed breakaway in the third period. On the season the Skelleftea, Sweden native has a 4-2-0 record, with one of those losses coming in overtime, a 2.32 goals-against average and a 0.917 save percentage; not bad for a goaltender who is adjusting to the North American game on the fly. Phantoms Player of the Month: (October)
Jon Matsumoto – C – #11
9 GP, 7 Points (2 goals, 5 assists), +1, 6 PIMs
Third-year center Jon Matsumoto only had one point in his first three games of the season, a slow start for the Phantoms’ second leading scorer from 2008-09. It did not take long for the Ottawa, Ontario native to find his form, as he rattled off six points over the next five games to lead Adirondack in scoring in the month of October. Matsumoto finished the month with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists), a +1 plus-minus rating and six penalty minutes. In a testament to his strong two-way play, Matsumoto was a minus player in just two of his nine games in October, all the while playing as a mainstay on the Phantoms penalty kill. He had two multi-point games on consecutive days, scoring a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over Hartford on October 23rd and then assisting on both Adirondack goals in a 3-2 loss at Albany on October 24th. Phantoms Goalie of the Month: (October)
Johan Backlund – G – #31
5 GP, 3-2-0, 2.78 GAA, 0.906 Sv.%, 135 Saves
Adirondack goaltender Johan Backlund has gotten off to a fine start in his first season of professional hockey in North America. Although the Skellefteå, Sweden native has played in almost 300 career pro games in his home county, his first taste of the AHL has already proven quite successful. In five starts in October Backlund helped the Phantoms secure seven out of a possible ten points, winning three games and picking up an overtime loss. In his AHL debut he beat the Springfield Falcons on October 9th and, after a forgettable team effort in Syracuse the next night, Backlund turned in a fantastic performance against the defending Calder Cup champs as Adirondack beat Hershey 2-1. His only other “loss” was an overtime defeat to Albany, where he allowed just one goal in regulation in a riveting Time Warner Cable Cup game with the River Rats. He closed out the month with a 3-2 win over Hartford, where both goals allowed came on the power play. He posted a 2.78 goals-against average and a 0.906 save percentage in his five starts in October; solid numbers that would be even better without the entire squad’s hiccup at Syracuse. If these trends continue, Backlund is heading for a sensational first year in the AHL. Phantoms Rookie of the Month: (October)
Kevin Marshall – D– #4
9 GP, 1 Game-Winning Goal, +2, 10 PIMs
Rookie defenseman Kevin Marshall is not going to lead the Phantoms in points this season, but as defensive defensemen go, he scored one of Adirondack’s biggest goals in the month of October. The Boucherville, Quebec native scored his first career professional goal, and first pro point, on October 16th to break a 1-1 tie in the third period and beat the reigning AHL champs Hershey 2-1. Marshall’s memorable goal against the Bears was certainly one of the Phantoms’ best highlights of the month, but even more impressive is the fact that the rookie defenseman was a minus player only once in his first nine career AHL games and finished October with a +2 plus-minus rating. Selected by the Flyers in the 2nd Round (41st Overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Marshall’s first month with Adirondack has to be making Philadelphia’s hockey operations staff very pleased. Phantoms Quick Hits:
· A SPECIAL SHORT-HANDED GOAL – The Phantoms scored their first short-handed goal of the season on Sunday when Jon Matsumoto beat Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta on a second period penalty shot. It was the second penalty shot goal scored by the Phantoms this season; Andreas Nodl scored on a penalty shot against Springfield on October 9th.
· A PILE OF FIRSTS – Left wing Garrett Klotz scored the first game-winning goal of his pro career on Sunday; it was his second goal in three games after going without a goal for the first 42 games of his professional career. Center Ryan Dingle scored his first goal of the season against the Crunch, which was his first point as a member of the Phantoms. Right wing Matt Clackson tallied two assists against Syracuse on Sunday for his first points of the season and his first career multi-point game.
· SO MANY MINUTES – Defenseman Logan Stephenson made his presence felt on Sunday as he racked up a Phantoms single-game season-high 24 penalty minutes against the Crunch. However, Stephenson received an automatic one-game AHL suspension for receiving an instigating penalty in the final five minutes of regulation. Right wing Stefan Legein
also reached a personal penalty minutes milestone, picking up the first fighting major of his pro career; coincidentally against his former team.
· APPROACHING MILESTONES – Goaltender Johan Backlund needs one game played to record his 300th career Pro game. Right wing Josh Beaulieu is two games shy of his 100th career AHL game. Center Ryan Dingle is two games from recording his 150th career Pro game and his 100th career AHL game.
· SHUTOUT STATS – For the first time this season Adirondack was shutout and shutout their opponents and they accomplished both in the same week. After being blanked by Joey MacDonald and the Toronto Marlies on Friday, Johan Backlund stopped all 20 shots he faced to pick up his first career AHL shutout. Backlund became the 24th goalie in the AHL this season to record a shutout and it was the 32nd shutout of his professional career.