GLENS FALLS -- In place of the morning skate on Saturday, Adirondack Phantoms head coach Terry Murray called a meeting and sent a message: The team’s recent play was unacceptable.
The Phantoms apparently got the message.
They played like an entirely different team than the one that lost the special teams battle the night before and defeated Syracuse, 4-3 in a shootout.
Defenseman Danny Syvret said there was a direct correlation between the meeting and the Phantoms’ play Saturday night.
“It wasn’t a very positive meeting, it’s not one you want to have any more in the season,” he said. “The coach is getting his point across. It’s frustrating for us losing and it’s probably frustrating for him having the team that we saw out here (Saturday night) and not being able to produce that every night.”
Once again, it came down to the play of special teams in a penalty-filled game. Special teams lost the game Friday night, and Saturday, they won it.
Adirondack scored two power-play goals and killed off 11 short-handed situations. Friday night, the Phantoms allowed two power-play goals and a short-handed goal by Rochester.
The Phantoms almost got themselves in trouble with three consecutive penalties in the first period, but they held fast. The Crunch took five shots during the first two power plays and then could barely get into the offensive zone on the third.
“There was a lot of special team time, maybe too much, but it ends up being the difference in the game,” Murray said. “We had some very good penalty killing early. They had 15 shots about midway in the first period, but the goaltending was good and the penalty killing was, I thought sharp and then we get opportunities on the power play.”
Spending too much time in the box has been a common trend for the Phantoms this year and it has sometimes stunted their offense. But on Saturday, they gained momentum from the penalty kill.
“Our (penalty kill) was really good tonight, they have some really skilled players,” goaltender Scott Munroe said. “Our power play as well, came up with some really big goals. When you play a team like that, you need to capitalize on both sides of the puck — power play and penalty kill.”
The Phantoms scored two power-play goals before the Crunch even had a shot on goal in the second period.
Tye McGinn did what he’s done all year, camp out in front of the goaltender and tip shots in. Saturday, he scored the first goal, tipping in a slap shot from Sean Couturier. Brayden Schenn added another goal three minutes later, on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.
The special teams play got the Phantoms to the shootout, where Schenn, Garrett Roe and Munroe were the heroes.
Schenn was up first for the Phantoms and fired a shot past Dustin Tokarski high to the glove side. Meanwhile, Munroe turned away a shot on the other side of the ice and forced two Syracuse shooters to hit the post. Ondrej Palat beat Munroe glove side and then it was Roe’s turn.
“In my mind, the whole time I figured I was going to go high-glove,” Roe said. “I think he came out a little bit further because he figured we were all shooting there. Just a fake shot and he happened to bite on it and I just swung it around his pad.”
Roe’s goal gave the Phantoms a 2-1 win in the shootout and sent a message back to Murray: We heard you and we’re sick of it too.
Syracuse 1 2 0 0 — 3
Adirondack 0 3 0 0 — 4
First Period — 1, Syracuse, Connolly 9 (Brown), 17:47. Penalties — Killorn, Syr (holding), 0:47; Zolnierczyk, Adk (interference), 8:14; Bordson, Adk (delay of game), 10:07; Eddy, Adk (cross-checking), 12:18; Aulie, Syr (interference), 19:59.
Second Period — 2, Adirondack, McGinn 7 (Couturier, Schenn), 1:56 (pp). 3, Adirondack, Schenn 10 (Couturier, Gustafsson), 4:54 (pp). 4, Syracuse, Labrie 5 (Wyman), 13:51. 5, Adirondack, Schenn 11 (Akeson), 18:12. 6, Syracuse, Conacher 10 (Aulie, Brown), 19:02. Penalties — Gudas, Syr (high-sticking, high-sticking), 1:30; Cote, Syr (high-sticking), 4:31; Wellwood, Adk (hooking), 5:40; Manning, Adk (slashing), 8:12; Killorn, Syr (tripping), 8:59; Schenn, Adk (interference), 11:00; Gudas, Syr, major (fighting), 14:08; Eddy, Adk, major (fighting), 14:08; Labrie, Syr, double minor (roughing), 16:51; McGinn, Adk, double minor (roughing), 16:51.
Third Period — None. Penalties — Rinaldo, Adk (charging), 0:52; Aulie, Syr (high-sticking), 4:51; Rinaldo, Adk (elbowing), 10:43; Roe, Adk (holding), 14:55; Angelidis, Syr (interference), 17:24.
Overtime — None. Penalties — Munroe, Adk (roughing), 0:45; Connolly, Syr (interference), 1:53.
Shootout — Syracuse 1 (Conacher NG, Connolly NG, Panik NG, Palat G, Johnson NG), Adirondack 2 (Schenn G, Akeson NG, Couturier NG, Roe G).
Shots on Goal — Syracuse 15-6-6-5—32. Adirondack 9-13-11-1—35.
Power Plays — Syracuse 0-11; Adirondack 2-9.
Goalies — Syracuse, Tokarski 8-4-2 (34 shots-31 saves). Adirondack, Munroe 7-5-0 (32-29).
A — 3,741
Referee — McIsaac.