GLENS FALLS -- After almost falling victim to a desperation comeback in each of their last two games, the Adirondack Phantoms were on the other end of the equation Friday night.
Like each of their previous opponents, the Phantoms came up short, falling to Providence, 4-2.
“We came out and played 20 minutes out of the 60, and that was the third period, and that’s not good enough,” head coach Terry Murray said. “We were just chasing the game and watching the game in the first two periods.”
Slow starts have been a problem off-and-on for the Phantoms, but they seemed to figure it out as of late, with three of their strongest first periods coming in the past three games.
Friday night, however, the lethargic version of the Phantoms crept up again. The Bruins started the game strong and got on the board at 4:43, courtesy of Justin Florek. Adirondack did have a burst after that as Zac Rinaldo, Garrett Roe and Harry Zolnierczyk played a strong, extended shift. But for the most part, they fell flat.
Glens Falls native Christian Hanson was far from a hometown hero Friday night. Instead he played the spoiler, setting up the Bruins’ second goal and scoring an empty-netter at the end. Both were cases of him showing off his speed down the right wing and then centering the puck to a teammate, earning two points underneath the Calder Cup Champions banner his father helped win for the Adirondack Red Wings in 1981.
Hanson said before the game that he wasn’t sure if he’d get a positive or negative reaction from the fans, but that made it a negative one.
On paper, the Phantoms appeared to have an answer for Hanson and the Bruins, sending 45 shots at goaltender Niklas Svedberg, but their old problem of quantity of shots over quality popped up again. They had 14 in the first period and 13 in the second, most of which weren’t much of a challenge for the netminder.
They did have some chances. Wellwood picked up a soft pass attempt by Chris Bourque early in the game and beat three Bruins to the net, but Svedberg made the save. Midway through the second period, trailing 2-0, Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson had a good give-and-go, but again Svedberg turned it away.
Brayden Schenn put the Phantoms on the board 20 seconds after that shot, with a breakaway set up by a Jeff Dimmen steal, roofing the puck backhand inside the right post. But the bright spots weren’t enough to pick up the Phantoms.
“We weren’t skating, we were standing around,” Murray said. “We were light with our sticks, we weren’t making plays and just too many turnovers in the first two periods that brought problems into our own end.”
Even things that would normally provide a spark — big hits and a fight — didn’t do the trick. Zack FitzGerald obliged Bobby Robins, dropping the gloves three minutes into the second period and got everyone pumped up, but the energy quickly died.
By the time the Phantoms picked it up in the third period, it was too late. Wellwood brought the Phantoms within one goal with a power-play goal from the right circle and Adirondack came on strong after that, but they couldn’t get past Svedberg.
“It’s desperation,” alternate captain Danny Syvret said made the difference in the third. “We need to find a way to bottle that so we aren’t always fighting uphill.”
Providence 1 2 1 — 4
Adirondack 0 1 1 — 2
First Period—1, Providence, Florek 2 (Trotman), 4:43. Penalties—Eddy, Adk (holding), 2:31; Exelby, Pro (roughing), 19:12.
Second Period—2, Providence, MacDermid 3 (Hanson, Camper), 6:15. 3, Adirondack, Schenn 13 (Dimmen), 9:21. 4, Providence, Caron 6 (Camper), 9:46. Penalties—Robins, Pro (fighting), 2:54; FitzGerald, Adk (fighting), 2:54; FitzGerald, Adk (interference), 11:46; FitzGerald, Adk (kneeing), 15:17.
Third Period—5, Adirondack, Wellwood 4 (Dimmen, Bordson), 10:53 (pp). 6, Providence, Bourque 6 (Hanson, Bartkowski), 19:21 (en). Penalties—Robins, Pro (roughing, interference), 3:51; Dimmen, Adk (roughing), 3:51; Hanson, Pro (holding), 8:28; Exelby, Pro (interference), 9:47.
Shots on Goal—Providence 15-9-11-35. Adirondack 14-13-18-45.
Power Play Opportunities—Providence 0/3; Adirondack 1/4.
Goalies—Providence, Svedberg 12-5-1 (45 shots-43 saves). Adirondack, Heeter 4-9-0 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees—Jean-Philippe Sylvain (16).