This was not your average AHL preseason game. The Adirondack Phantoms lineup stacked with players like Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Zac Rinaldo, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson took to the ice in Voorhees, NJ against the Albany Devils on Tuesday afternoon. Albany got the early jump in the game and were able to hold off a late Phantoms rally in a 5-3 decision.
Adirondack's offense had plenty of jump and generated the vast majority of the scoring opportunities as they out-shot the Devils 48-23. The Phantoms also had the puck in the Albany zone for the majority of the game. But the Devils made the most of their shooting tries and had a couple perfect ones picking the corners.
The Phantoms scored one goal in each period. Danny Syvret blasted a powerful slapshot in the first. Matt Ford deflected a Brandon Manning slapper in the second. And Tye McGinn scored in the third period on an assist by Sean Couturier. Manning had assists on all three goals while Couturier had two.
The Phantoms also had a lot of power-play opportunities. Nine of them in total including three different 5-on-3's. Adirondack finished 2-for-9 on the power play but had some near-misses in their efforts to close the score. Albany was just 1-for-2 on the man-advantage.
"It's new systems for a lot of the guys in this room," said Phantoms right-wing Matt Ford who had 19 goals in 31 games for Adirondack last year after being acquired from Hershey in a trade. "I think there's a learning curve to it and we're just trying to get better everyday. We definitely had plenty of chances out there. I thought we kept it simple. The idea was to shoot the puck. We only got two goals on the power play, but I thought we could have had a few more."
Niko Hovinen went the distance in goal for the Adirondack Phantoms making 18 saves on 23 shots in his American debut.
"I think he was probably a little jittery. Coming in his first game in North America. Seeing different kinds of shots," said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. "Next time he plays he's going to be a lot better. You get the first one under your belt. A pro has got to learn to move on and come back the next day and be ready to work at it again and be better."
Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood split the time evenly in net for the Devils. Albany was led by Mike Sislo and David Wohlberg who had two goals each.
There was also good physicality and intensity as one would expect from the Adirondack vs. Albany rivalry. Less than two minutes in, big Phantoms defenseman Oliver Lauridsen got in a scrap with Darcy Zajac. Zac Rinaldo threw his body around a bit as well. And Tyler Brown delivered the biggest hit of the day when he caught an Albany Devils in wide-open ice drawing perhaps the biggest roar from the Phantoms-partisan contingent.
It was the first American Hockey League game at the bench for head coach Terry Murray since 1990 when he was at the helm for the Baltimore Skipjacks. It was also the first time skating in a Phantoms uniform for 19 year old Sean Couturier who had 12 goals as an NHL rookie in Philadelphia last year.
A jammed crowd of approximately 400 packed into the small rink at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ for the free exhibition game. It was standing-room only up to five or six deep around the glass and every seat was taken as the fans created a fun and noisy atmosphere in the building.The majority of the fans were decked out in their Phantoms or Flyers gear and were clearly hungry for hockey.
Training camp continues in Voorhees on Wednesday morning with another practice. The team will depart Voorhees on Sunday and then resume training camp in Glens Falls next Tuesday, October 9 in preparation for their season opener on Saturday, October 13 against the Portland Pirates at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Albany Devils 5 at Adirondack Phantoms 3 - Status: Final
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - Flyers Skate Zone
Albany 3 2 0 - 5
Adirondack 1 1 1 - 3
1st Period-1, Albany, Hrabarenka 1 (Pesonen), 2:10 (PP). 2, Albany, Wohlberg 1 (Pesonen, Hrabarenka), 4:07. 3, Albany, Sislo 2 (DeSimone, Hoeffel), 7:41. 4, Adirondack, Syvret 1 (Manning, Brown), 14:35 (PP). Penalties-Zajac Alb (fighting), 1:32; Lauridsen Adk (checking to the head, fighting), 1:32; Pesonen Alb (charging), 10:28; Young Alb (roughing), 13:18; Urbom Alb (delay of game), 14:13; McKelvie Alb (closing hand on puck), 16:33; Urbom Alb (roughing), 19:14; Rinaldo Adk (elbowing), 19:14.
2nd Period-5, Albany, Sislo 3 (Burlon), 1:04. 6, Adirondack, Ford 1 (Manning, Couturier), 13:16. 7, Albany, Wohlberg 2 (Burlon), 17:44 (SH). Penalties-Bourdon Adk (hooking), 9:53; Wohlberg Alb (interference), 15:33; Zajac Alb (boarding), 15:55.
3rd Period-8, Adirondack, McGinn 1 (Couturier, Manning), 15:06 (PP). Penalties-DeSimone Alb (hooking), 0:11; Leach Alb (slashing), 3:29; McKelvie Alb (closing hand on puck), 13:19.
Shots on Goal-Albany 3-2-0-5. Adirondack 1-1-1-3.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 1 / 2; Adirondack 2 / 9.
Referees-Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Rich Patry (52), Luke Murray (92).