GLENS FALLS -- The Adirondack Phantoms promised things would be different this season.They promised passion, they promised speed, and above all, they promised youth.
Eric Wellwood delivered all of that, in high style.
The speedy rookie scored a sensational game-winning goal in the third period, lifting Adirondack to a 3-2 win over Syracuse in front of an opening night crowd of 3,319 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Stefan Legein began the play by chipping the puck up ice, breaking Wellwood and him on a two-on-one. Wellwood blasted by his defenseman wide to the left and carried the puck in until he was nearly on top of the goaltender. Then he coolly flipped it short side into the top of the net.
"No goalie is ever going to stop that shot," Pat Maroon said. "Ever."
The goal, which came with 7:54 remaining, was the second for Adirondack in 34 seconds, erasing a 2-1 deficit.
It was debatable which was prettier, Wellwood's finish, or the burning flash of speed he used to get to the net.
"That's my biggest asset, and it was nice to show it off," Wellwood said.
Particularly nice was that it came just minutes after a power play in which Wellwood rang a shot off the outside post that would have tied the game. But the 20-year-old rookie, a sixth-round pick by the Flyers last year, had a better one in him.
"My first thought was, ‘It's got to go in. Like, are you kidding me?' " Wellwood said. "But then I got to the bench and I regathered myself and said, ‘Keep shooting, it's going to go in eventually.' And I'm happy it went in at the time it did."
Jon Kalinski scored the equalizer on a four-minute power play. The Kalinski line was productive all night, with Maroon having a goal and an assist, and Mike Testwuide getting an assist and hitting a post at either end.
Maroon has three goals in his first four games, with Testwuide getting the assist on all of them.
"(Testwuide) sees the ice real well," Maroon said. "He's an extra big body for me down there. He keeps giving it to me and I have to keep finding the net."
Maroon's second-period goal gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. But despite dominating the shot totals, they fell behind 2-1 when Syracuse scored twice in 22 seconds. The first, set up by ex-Phantom Danny Syvret, came just after a Phantoms penalty kill when they failed to clear the puck, leaving the same tired guys on the ice for more than two minutes.
The Crunch then scored again off the ensuing faceoff.
"They scored those two goals because we didn't get the puck out," Maroon said. "Those are the little things people don't see in a hockey game."
What the crowd did see was a team eager to make their fans forget a last-place season where comebacks such as this were rare.
"We just have to show them like we did tonight," Maroon said. "Last year was a different year. This year is a new team. A lot of new faces. And we've proven that we were down 2-1 going into the third period that we're not going to give up. And we sure didn't."
Loose pucks: Rookie Zac Rinaldo was scratched with an injury. He showed up to the rink Friday complaining of stiffness. He's out Saturday and will be day-to-day after that. ... Logan Stephenson was a healthy scratch. ... Johan Backlund made his fourth straight start to open the season. He had 17 saves. ... Syvret, who played the last four seasons in the Philadelphia organization, had one assist, was a plus-one, and took a penalty.
Syracuse (0-2-0-1) 0 2 0 - 2
Adirondack (2-2-0-0) 0 1 2 - 3
First period - none. Penalties - Jancevski, Adk (hooking), 3:27; Smith, Syr (slashing), 12:55; Syvret, Syr (delay of game), 14:12.
Second period - 1, Adirondack, Maroon 3 (Testwuide, Gustafsson), 6:07; 2, Syracuse, Palmieri 1 (Syvret, Mitera), 13:47; 3, Syracuse, DiPenta 1 (Bordson, Newton), 14:09. Penalties - DiPenta, Syr (delay of game), 7:34; Laliberte, Adk (tripping), 10:05; Macenauer, Syr (hooking), 15:10.
Third period - 4, Adirondack, Kalinski 1 (Maroon, Gustafsson), 11:32 (PP); 5, Adirondack, Wellwood 1 12:06. Penalties - Bonino, Syr (hooking), 2:03; Bordson, Syr (hooking), 6:36; Bonino, Syr (double minor-high-sticking), 9:12; Mitera, Syr (cross-checking), 16:57; Maroon, Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:57; Green, Syr (elbowing), 19:53.
Shots on goal - Syracuse 6-4-9-19; Adirondack 6-11-9-26.
Power-play opportunities - Syracuse 0-2; Adirondack 1-9.
Goalies - Syracuse, Levasseur 0-1-1 (26 shots-23 saves); Adirondack, Backlund 2-2-0 (19 shots-17 saves).
Referee - Brown.
A - 3,319.