GLENS FALLS -- Things were looking up for the Adirondack Phantoms, until the game started.
Going into Friday’s game against Norfolk, the Phantoms had momentum coming off a strong performance Saturday, they had a couple of AHL scorers back, and they had high energy after a good week of practice.
None of that showed, however, once the puck dropped. The Phantoms extended their winless streak to six games with a 3-0 loss to the Admirals.
“Three goals off three faceoffs, that’s what happened,” head coach Terry Murray said. “The first two goals were just ones that we need to defend better against. The third goal was the same. We had lots of opportunities but we cannot give up as many opportunities as we’re giving up right now.”
The Phantoms took 38 shots and failed to score. Tye McGinn said they “came up against a hot goalie.” John Gibson, who led Team USA to a gold medal in the World Junior Championship last year, is a very good goaltender. But there was more to it than that.
Murray denied that there was an issue with quality versus quantity of shots, pointing to a few strong chances on which Gibson made impressive saves.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “No problem with the looks. The numbers were up there.”
There was, however, still the same tendency to look for the “cute” goal. Kris Newbury had a great chance after winning a foot race but held onto the puck and tried to pass it backwards between his legs to Jason Akeson. Ben Holmstrom held on to a loose puck in front of the net too long and lost his chance.
“We’re the ones that are giving up chances and losing the game ourselves,” Murray said. “The other team is not coming at us and doing anything special. We had the puck, we’re turning it over, losing coverage, we’ve got to do a lot better.”
Play without the puck was what Murray wanted to focus on coming out of last weekend and what he said they were spending the most time on in practice. He said they have to keep going and keep working on it.
“Ninety percent of the game, maybe more, is played without the puck,” Rob Bordson said. “That’s why there are systems in place. If guys don’t agree with it, it doesn’t matter. If everyone stuck to the game plan and if you’re where you’re supposed to be, pucks are going to come to you and you’re going to create offensive chances.”
Bordson said when times are tough the team completely gets away from the game plan.
“If we’re losing by a goal or two, we just shut down,” he said. “I don’t know why, I don’t know what it is. It’s just not trusting the system.
“We need to play better without the puck and we need to play better with the puck.”
Norfolk 1 2 0 — 3
Adirondack 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—1, Norfolk, Holland 2 3:19. Penalties—Stortini, Nor (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 4:56; FitzGerald, Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 4:56; Friberg, Nor (holding), 8:36; Lauridsen, Adk (slashing), 16:55.
Second Period—2, Norfolk, Sauve 1 (Exelby, Holland), 3:20. 3, Norfolk, Holland 3 8:36. Penalties—VandeVelde, Adk (high—sticking), 5:04; Stortini, Nor (goaltender interference), 13:21; Newbury, Adk (interference), 17:57.
Third Period— None. Penalties—Exelby, Nor (roughing, fighting), 2:35; VandeVelde, Adk (fighting), 2:35; Grant, Nor (fighting), 6:25; McGinn, Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 6:25; Lauridsen, Adk (interference), 8:23; Wagner, Nor (cross—checking), 14:56.
Shots on Goal—Norfolk 10-14-3-27. Adirondack 12-12-14-38.
Power Play Opportunities—Norfolk 0-5; Adirondack 0-4.
Goalies—Norfolk, Gibson 2-1-2 (38 shots-38 saves). Adirondack, Danis 1-2-2 (27 shots-24 saves).
Referees—Chris Brown, Darcy Burchell.