The Phantoms have only gone to overtime four times this season. Three of those have been against Syracuse and all have ended in Adirondack wins. The Phantoms did it again Friday night, beating Syracuse in a shootout, 4-3.
Danny Syvret scored the winning goal of the shootout in the seventh round with a shot five-hole on goaltender Dustin Tokarski. (see separate post for full shootout recap)
Adirondack came out strong in the first period, but the second and third were all Syracuse, as the Crunch outshot the Phantoms 32-9 in those frames.
Syracuse erased a 3-0 Phantoms lead, but could not get further than that as Cal Heeter kept Adirondack in the game. Heeter turned away a number of point-blank shots, including three from reigning MVP Cory Conacher.
The Phantoms scored twice in the first 2:30, the earliest they have scored all year. Harry Zolnierczyk had the first goal on a two-on-one odd-man rush with Garrett Roe at 1:11. Just over a minute later, Jason Akeson added a power-play goal, his first of the season.
"I saw a lane and waited for the goalie to drop to put it up top," he said via text.
Akeson tallied his second AHL goal later in the period on another odd-man rush. Brayden Schenn sent a great pass across the crease, through sprawling defenseman Evan Oberg, to Akeson, who had a shot on an open net on the other side.
Terry Murray had commented that he'd like to see Akeson, who tallied 10 assists in 12 games, be more selfish with the puck and Akeson took it to heart. He was shooting more in Wednesday night's game, but did not score, and then had two goals and a shootout goal on Friday.
"I knew I just had to get it in my mind to do that," he said. "Seemed to work out tonight."
After that, however, Syracuse took over.
Brandon Manning took the Phantoms' first penalty of the game 5:01 into the second period and Richard Panik made Adirondack pay.
Ondrei Palat took a shot that pulled Heeter to the post, the shot ricocheted off the wall to Panik on the opposite post. The right wing largely fanned on the shot, but got just enough of the puck to put Syracuse on the board.
Alex Killorn scored his fifth goal in as many games with 5:51 remaining in the period. A defensive breakdown by the Phantoms left him alone in front of the net for an easy goal.
Tyler Johnson tied the game up about midway through the third period. The Crunch peppered Heeter with shots, pouncing on each rebound before the Phantoms could clear them out, the third one got past the laid-out Heeter.
Despite giving up three goals, Heeter could have been the star of the game. He turned away a potential game-winner by Conacher with 2:27 to play. The netminder also made a great save on a shot by J.T. Brown on a delayed penalty in the second period and turned away a few hard shots from Killorn.
It was what Syvret called "overall one of his better games thus far."
Akeson added, "He was great. Stepped up when we neededd him to pull through with a big two points for the team."