The Adirondack Phantoms could not keep the momentum going in their return from the holiday break as the Providence Bruins escaped from Glens Falls with a 4-2 victory on Friday night.
Adirondack's win streak was ended at three despite a 45-shot effort on Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg who earned #1 Star of the Game honors for his stellar play.
A near-sellout crowd of 4,542 crammed into the Glens Falls Civic Center to watch the Phantoms tangle with the Baby Bruins who were making their only appearance to the North Country this season.
Brayden Schenn scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season while Eric Wellwood added his fourth of the year which was also his third in his last four games.
The Phantoms were only down by one goal with over nine minutes to go and had several opportunities to tie the score but either Svedberg made a big save, a defenseman got a big block or deflection, or the puck took a tough bounce on a Phantoms shooter with an opening in front of the net. Providence sealed the victory with a late empty-netter by Chris Bourque.
Phantoms Head Coach Terry Murray thought his team was not as sharp as they needed to be in their return from the Christmas layoff. "Too many turnovers in the first two periods and brought a lot of problems into our own end. And spending too many shifts in our own end. They ended up capitalizing on a couple of those turnovers."
Providence took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a deflection by Justin Florek from a Zach Trotman drive from the right point that squeezed in short-side on Cal Heeter. But Adironadack had 14 shots in the opening frame including the first few of their several big chances on the night.
The hitting was also big in the opening 20 minutes to set the tone for more physicality later on.
In the second period, two of the league's top tough-guys would square off as both Zack FitzGerald of Adirondack and Bobby Robins of Providence tried to give their respective sides a spark. The two connected on several blows in a lengthy battle with both combatants refusing to give in. At one point while the two were tangled it appeared the fight was coming to a close but then both caught their breath and started it up again in the second wave of the impressive fight.
FitzGerald would also rush in and ping a shot off the cross-bar after a Rob Bordson interception.
The Bruins capitalized on a 2-on-1 rush about six minutes into the second period with Glens Falls native Christian Hanson assisting for Lane MacDermid's goal that made the score 2-0.
Adirondack got on the board 9:21 into the second on nice anticipation by Jeff Dimmen with an intercept and long head-man up to Brayden Schenn who nicely backhanded in his quick breakaway opportunity to make it a one-goal game.
But a big turning point of the game would come shortly after that as Providence would re-take the two-goal advantage just 25 seconds later on a goal in the slot by Jordan Caron with a feed by Carter Camper who had two helpers for the P-Bruins.
"That's a critical time of the game and that's when you want to come back with a great big shift to make sure you can build off the emotion of that goal," Murray said. "And we were just careless with the puck. We had all three forwards out in the neutral zone and the puck's back in our end and they make a play and it's in the net. We have to get re-focused here and we have to be a lot better."
The Phantoms had a couple power plays in the third period and some 5-on-3 time for 41 seconds as well. After missing on the 5-on-3, Adirondack would get their man-advantage goal with Eric Wellwood knifing his way to the right-circle and snapping in his sharp-angle drive past Svedberg to pull the Phantoms to within a goal again.
Earlier there was another goal the Phantoms had scored but the whistle had blown before the rebound opportunity went in as the referee determined the goal had been dislodged.
A few more tries after that in an intense finish would push the Bruins to the limits but Jason Akeson missed a little wide from in front of the goal, Brayden Schenn shot one a little off the mark and another rush up the left-wing would just barely be saved off Svedberg's shoulder, and more close calls and chances would elude the Bruins' net and stay out.
It was a nice 45-shot effort in the game for Adirondack even though their three-game win streak ended. But Terry Murray was more focused on the other aspects the Phantoms need to correct. "Their third goal is a play we have right at our own blue-line and we don't get it out and it ends up in our net being the winning goal. We just need to be a heckuva lot better from the start of the game again."
The Phantoms are back in action Saturday night at the Portland Pirates in a game to be played in Lewiston, Maine which is serving as the Pirates' secondary venue this year where they are playing six of their home games.
Adirondack returns home Monday at 3:00 for the traditional New Years' Eve game featuring bright orange Tuxedo Jerseys presented by Scoville Jewelers with part of the proceeds of the post-game jersey auction to benefit the WAIT House of Glens Falls; Welcoming Adolescents in Transition. The team will be looking extra snazzy as well as a bit outrageous for the special game. And you could end 2012 with your very own game-worn Phantoms jersey and the players will be there to sign the jerseys and congratulate the winning fans in the post-game auction.BOXSCORE
Providence Bruins 4 at Adirondack Phantoms 2
Friday, December 28, 2012 - Glens Falls Civic Center
Providence 1 2 1 - 4
Adirondack 0 1 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Providence, Florek 2 (Trotman), 4:43. Penalties-Eddy Adk (holding), 2:31; Exelby Pro (roughing), 19:12.
2nd Period-2, Providence, MacDermid 3 (Hanson, Camper), 6:15. 3, Adirondack, Schenn 13 (Dimmen), 9:21. 4, Providence, Caron 6 (Camper), 9:46. Penalties-Robins Pro (fighting), 2:54; FitzGerald Adk (fighting), 2:54; FitzGerald Adk (interference), 11:46; FitzGerald Adk (kneeing), 15:17.
3rd Period-5, Adirondack, Wellwood 4 (Dimmen, Bordson), 10:53 (PP). 6, Providence, Bourque 6 (Hanson, Bartkowski), 19:21 (EN). Penalties-Robins Pro (roughing, interference), 3:51; Dimmen Adk (roughing), 3:51; Hanson Pro (holding), 8:28; Exelby Pro (interference), 9:47.
Shots on Goal-Providence 15-9-11-35. Adirondack 14-13-18-45.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 3; Adirondack 1 / 4.
Goalies-Providence, Svedberg 11-5-1 (45 shots-43 saves). Adirondack, Heeter 4-8-0 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Jean-Philippe Sylvain (16).
Linesmen-Jim Harper (59), Frank Murphy (29).