Did this game remind anyone of the Outdoor Classic? Gritty tying goal from Ben Holmstrom late. Spectacular goal by a young forward in overtime. A marquee win.
The end result was a 4-3 win for the Phantoms over Syracuse on Friday that will be the season's most important game until the one begins Saturday night in Connecticut.
Here's the effect on the playoff picture (if you don't feel like clicking that link):
-- The Phantoms are tied with Portland at 72 points in ninth place. Both are one point back of Manchester, which was idle Friday and holds the final playoff spot with 73 points.
-- The Phantoms trail Syracuse by two points for the seventh spot.
-- Three points separate teams seventh through 11th in the Eastern Conference.
A few other game specific notes:
-- What can you say about Jason Akeson's game-winner? He has skill to burn and the circling play he made in the zone was terrific. It looked like he was going to pass it across and that may have frozen the goalie. His shot was an absolute rip and it's why Joe Paterson has always wanted him to shoot more.
-- Ben Holmstrom's game-tying goal was his first in 27 games dating back to Jan. 14 in Manchester.
-- Matt Ford continues to roll along, getting his 15th goal in 24 games with the Phantoms. He also took a brutal hit along the boards late in the game, but popped right back up and stayed in.
-- Andrew Rowe is playing really well right now. He showed some great wheels beating his man and scoring the goal to make it 3-2 in the third. Gave the team new life. Akeson said, "I didn’t know he had that speed under him."
-- The Flyers returned Erik Gustafsson to the Phantoms before the game.
-- Syracuse's Peter Holland missed an empty net early in overtime. Someone said they thought Dan Jancevski tipped it. Anyone catch that?
Lines: Hamel/Holmstrom/Ford; Zolnierczyck/Bordson/Harper; Testwuide/Brown/Akeson; Rowe/Pither/Mathers.
Defensive pairs: Lauridsen/Walker; Gustafsson/Jancevski; Eddy/Manning.
Scratches: Klotz (healthy), Kessel (healthy), Cousins (healthy), Elyunuik (healthy), Roe (injured), McGinn (upper-body), Bartulis (upper-body).