GLENS FALLS -- A year ago on this day, the Adirondack Phantoms' season was over.
Sure, the calendar said five months remained, but with just three wins to their credit, the only thing that time represented was a long, hopeless slog to the offseason.
What a difference a year makes.
The Phantoms finished a sweep of a three-game homestand with a 4-3 victory over Syracuse on Wednesday in front of a crowd of 2,667 at the Civic Center.
More than a quarter of the way through the regular season, the Phantoms are in second place in the Northeast Division with a record of 12-7-0-1, easily their best mark on Dec. 1 since moving to Glens Falls. They didn't reach 12 wins until Jan. 16 last season.
For the second straight game, the Phantoms gave up a lead late in the third period and came back to win. This time it was Jason Akeson, who found the five-hole of Iiro Tarkki with 5:12 left to score the eventual game-winner.
"It's a lot of character, a lot of resiliency," Akeson said. "It's a great group of guys here and we have a lot of depth. Anyone can play on any given night. Teams that win that have depth like that. It's going to be a fun rest of the year."
That kind of depth has been on display lately.
The Phantoms have been able to thrive despite being hammered by call-ups. They've lost three defensemen from their opening night roster as well as high-scoring forwards like Brayden Schenn and Harry Zolnierczyk.
They've also lost Eric Wellwood to an injury for the last four games.
"We've had different guys come in and do the job," Phantoms coach Joe Paterson said. "They've come in and fit like pieces in a puzzle."
Their penalty killing has been a key component of the successful homestand. The Phantoms didn't allow a power-play goal in all three games. They've killed off the last 18 against them going back to the third period of Thursday's loss to Binghamton.
"We block a lot of shots," Paterson said. "You saw (Jon) Kalinski and (Ben) Holmstrom and the defense getting in the lanes. They put sticks on the ice and really clog up that small area there."
The Phantoms had quick answers for each Syracuse strike.
After the Crunch tied it at 1 in the first period, Tom Sestito scored his fourth goal in four games 26 seconds later to put Adirondack back ahead.
When Syracuse tied it at 2 in the second, it took Tye McGinn 36 seconds to give the lead right back to the Phantoms.
Akeson's goal wasn't quite as dramatic as Kalinski's overtime winner on Saturday, but they'll take it. The Phantoms have points in eight of their 10 games at the Civic Center this season and have won seven.
This one gave Paterson his 100th career victory as an AHL coach. The Phantoms have points in 47 of his 70 games as head coach.
"Look at the players, they're the guys who go out and do the job," Paterson said. "So I never thought too much about it."
Loose pucks: Defenseman Blake Kessel was an injured scratch. He's out five to six days with an unspecified injury. He will make the road trip this weekend. Andrew Thomas, recalled from Trenton this week, made his Phantoms debut in his place.
Syracuse (9-7-2-1) 1 1 1 - 3
Adirondack (12-7-0-1) 2 1 1 - 4
First period - 1, Adirondack, Holmstrom 4 (Testwuide), 1:00; 2, Syracuse, Holland 5 (Jacques, Palmieri), 15:41. 3, Adirondack, Sestito 8 (Eddy, Kalinski), 16:07. Penalties - McGinnis, Syr (boarding), 5:18; Akeson, Adk (high-sticking), 10:10.
Second period - 4, Syracuse, Rodney 3 (Holland, Carle), 10:36; 5, Adirondack, McGinn 2 (Hamel, Akeson), 11:12 (pp). Penalties - Edd, Adk (hooking), 4:16; Carle, Syr (hooking), 5:41; McGinn, Adk (interference), 6:44; Kalinski, Adk (boarding), 8:30; Schofield, Syr (delay of game), 10:52; Eddy, Adk (elbowing), 16:18.
Third period - 6, Syracuse, Bonino 5 (Rodney, Carle), 12:04; 7, Adirondack, Akeson 6 (Pither), 14:48. Penalties - Eddy, Adk (high-sticking), 7:10.
Shots on goal - Syracuse 10-12-14-36; Adirondack 14-7-6-27.
Power-play opportunities - Syracuse 0 / 6; Adirondack 1 / 3.
Goalies - Syracuse, Tarkki 6-5-1 (27 shots-23 saves); Adirondack, Leighton 9-5-0 (36 shots-33 saves).
Referees - Smith, Lemelin.
A - 2,667.