GLENS FALLS -- For most of the season, the Adirondack Phantoms have avoided games like this. But there's no question they've hit their roughest patch since the middle of last season.
Not only did Bridgeport's 6-2 win over the Phantoms on Friday night at the Civic Center look like a game from last season, it felt like one after, when the doors to the locker room stayed closed for nearly 30 minutes.
The Phantoms lost four in a row for the first time since Jan. 15 of last year. They fell into fourth place, still just three points behind new first-place team Bridgeport, which has won nine of 10 games.
"We had a talk and we cleared some things up that were in the air with the team. Like a family does," Phantoms coach Joe Paterson said. "There was some good things said. They're going to be ready to play (Saturday)."
Last weekend, Bridgeport goalie Anders Nilsson frustrated the Phantoms. Friday, it was Kevin Poulin's turn to play the same role.
Poulin made 51 saves, including 24 in the first period, when the Phantoms poured it on, but could only come away with a 1-1 tie on Tom Sestito's power-play goal.
"We had a lot of shots, but we didn't win the game so that doesn't matter. We know we can play better as a team. That's the one thing, we have to play better as a team," Paterson said.
Things began falling apart in the second.
Mike Testwuide was called for a borderline goaltender interference penalty after a great Poulin stop early in the second. Bridgeport's Jeremy Colliton scored on the ensuing power play to go up 2-1 1:24 into the period.
They added another power-play goal late in the period when Jon Landry beat Michael Leighton to the short side from the left circle.
"I've seen it with this team: With a 2-1 game, instead of just sticking with their game plan and maybe we'll get that scoring chance, or that goal, we have a tendency lately to overdo things, to try to do too much," Paterson said.
Things really fell apart in the third. Bridgeport scored three times, including one on a shorthanded rush after Harry Zolnierczyk had briefly cut the Sound Tigers' lead to 4-2.
Bridgeport skaters seemingly spent the whole period cutting in alone on Leighton.
"We opened the floodgates - not on purpose - and they're getting two-on-ones, they're getting these wide-open chances later in the game and it came and cost us," Paterson said.
Special teams played a large role in this one.
The Phantoms were 1 for 7 on the power play, including 0 for 4 in the first. Bridgeport was 2 for 5 on the man advantage and scored shorthanded.
The Phantoms' penalty kill, once such a stalwart, hasn't done them any favors the last five games. Opponents are 7 for 16 on the power play.
Leighton made 30 saves on 36 shots. He's lost his last four starts.
Loose pucks: Bridgeport was without forward Tomas Marcinko, who scored against the Phantoms last weekend. Marckino received a two-game suspension from the league earlier in the day. ... Defenseman Matt Walker was an injured scratch. He's questionable for Saturday's game.
Bridgeport (21-17-3-2) 1 2 3 -- 6
Adirondack (21-20-1-1) 1 0 1 -- 2
First period - 1, Adirondack, Sestito 9 (Akeson, Holmstrom), 14:34 (pp); 2, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 10 (Ness, Oleksy), 18:53. Penalties - Howes, Bri (hooking), 5:09; Akeson, Adk (tripping), 6:14; Roe, Adk (hooking), 11:39; Colliton, Bri (hooking), 12:17; Wishart, Bri (slashing), 13:33; Landry, Bri (cross-checking), 15:06.
Second period - 3, Bridgeport, Colliton 8 (Rakhshani, Cizikas), 1:24 (pp); 4, Bridgeport, Landry 1 (Wishart, DiBenedetto), 4:53 (pp). Penalties - Testwuide, Adk (goaltender interference), 0:47; Zolnierczyk, Adk (tripping), 3:58; Oleksy, Bri (roughing), 13:29.
Third period - 5, Bridgeport, Frischmon 5 (Cizikas), 1:02 (sh); 6, Adirondack, Zolnierczyk 6 (Testwuide, Wellwood), 2:11; 7, Bridgeport, McNeely 5 6:08; 8, Bridgeport, Cizikas 13 (Oleksy), 12:54. Penalties - Akeson, Adk (roughing), 13:52; Howes, Bri (fighting), 15:33; Manning, Adk (fighting), 15:33; Rakhshani, Bri (tripping), 17:25.
Shots on goal - Bridgeport 12-11-13--36; Adirondack 25-12-16--53.
Power-play opportunities - Bridgeport 2 / 5; Adirondack 1 / 7.
Goalies - Bridgeport, Poulin 12-12-1 (53 shots-51 saves); Adirondack, Leighton 14-16-0 (36 shots-30 saves).
Referee - Lemelin.
A - 3,909.