The Adirondack Phantoms continued their preseason schedule with an exhibition game against the Albany Devils in Newark, NJ at the team's practice facility. The Friday afternoon game took place adjacent to the New Jersey Devils' home at the Prudential Center. Albany was able to capitalize on two short-handed goals and come away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
Andrew Johnston (Humbolt, SJHL) scored the lone goal for the Phantoms on a scramble in front of the Devils' net in the second period. Johnston's even-strength goal was assisted by defensemen Blake Kessel and Oliver Lauridsen early in the second period tying the score at 1-1 at the time.
Cal Heeter (Ohio State) went the distance in net for the Phantoms playing well while allowing two goals on 26 shots. He looked comfortable in his professional preseason debut and made a couple of particularly sparking saves.
"I've been working a lot with goalie coach Jeff Reese (all summer)," Heeter said. "He's been teaching me a lot and I've just been trying to simplify my game, play a little more shallow with quicker movements and then reacting to the puck. I really like what he's been teaching me and I'm buying into it and I think it's starting to pay off for me."
The Phantoms had seven power plays in the game but were unable to capitalize on their tries. In the meanwhile, a couple rushes back the other way turned into the only Devils' scores of the afternoon. Scott Parse and Jacob Josefson scored for Albany in the second and third periods.
With 39 players still in the Adirondack Phantoms' camp, many players stayed behind for this one. Some of the noteable scratches for the Phantoms in this game who instead had a regular practice back in Voorhees included; Sean Couturier, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Manning, Danny Syvret, Jason Akeson and Tyler Brown.
Head coach Terry Murray believes the exhibition contests are key for evaluating the players on his new team and determining who will make the squad for the season opener.
"It's the ideal situation for me to see how these players are going to react to scenarios that happen," Murray said. "I'm still trying to get a few names and faces put together but no question, the exhibition games are very important."
The game also had a couple of scraps at different points. Mike Testwuide dropped the gloves with Albany's J.S. Berube in the second period. And new Phantoms tough-guy Zack Fitzgerald squared off Harry Young.
Coach Murray opted to put three of his fastest skaters on the same line together. Eric Wellwood, Brayden Schenn and Shane Harper began to get some chemistry going on what could be a very tough line to play against for AHL defenses if they remain together.
Schenn had a couple of particularly close calls in the game. At 0-0 late in the first period, he raced out with the puck shorthanded but it bounced on him flying up the left wing before he could pull the trigger. At the end of the first period, on the power play, a juicy rebound came to his stick on the back-door in the left circle and he blasted his attempt at a mostly open net too high and then looked away in frustration at the near-miss.
The Phantoms lineup included 2 Blake Kessel, 4 Tyler Hostetter, 7 Oliver Lauridsen, 8 Mike Testwuide, 9 Rob Bordson, 10 Brayden Schenn, 11 Shane Harper, 12 Ian Slater, 13 Zack Fitzgerald, 15 Andrew Johnston, 16 Tye McGinn, 22 Eric Wellwood, 24 Harry Zolnierczyk, 29 Marcel Noebels, 37 David Banwell, 42 Jeff Dimmen, 43 Sergei, Sentyurin, 57 Matt Mangene and 35 Cal Heeter.
The team will begin the Glens Falls portion of their training camp on Tuesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Practice-time on Tuesday has not been officially announced. The Phantoms will also hold practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the GFCC in preparation for their season opener on Saturday, October 13 against the Portland Pirates.