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Phantoms look for others to fill holes left by key players

2012-01-25T00:22:00Z Phantoms look for others to fill holes left by key playersBy TIM McMANUS -- tmcmanus@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
January 25, 2012 12:22 am  • 

GLENS FALLS -- All teams in the American Hockey League go through stretches when their parent clubs raid their roster. The Adirondack Phantoms have seen as much of that as anyone this season.

They took another double-hit over the weekend when the Flyers called up captain Ben Holmstrom and Tom Sestito, leaving the Phantoms with just 11 forwards. Two of the Phantoms' better offensive players, they combined for 19 goals and 38 points in 46 games.

The schedule cuts them no slack. The Phantoms play in Manchester on Wednesday, kicking off a three-games-in-four-nights stretch against teams they're battling for a playoff spot.

"You're hoping, or you're thinking, that somebody is going to go in and grab these minutes and say, ‘Look, maybe I've not been playing as much as I'd like to,' and then he steps into that role and plays a bigger game for you," Phantoms coach Joe Paterson said.

One of those players has been Jon Kalinski. The longest-tenured Phantom, usually used in a defensive, penalty-killing role, has made the most of his time as the second-line center. He has goals in three straight games, tying him for the longest streak on the Phantoms this season. He's also been taking more faceoffs in Holmstrom's absence.

"Whenever they're gone, others guys just have to step up into their roles and kind of fill their spots the best we can and just try and win the game," Kalinski said.

The Phantoms beat Manchester 5-3 on Jan. 14, during the Monarchs' 10-game losing streak.

Manchester's fortunes changed for the better over the weekend. They beat conference-leading Hershey on back-to-back nights to snap their skid. Former Phantom Stefan Legein scored twice Sunday.

Manchester is one of a series of teams the Phantoms are battling for a playoff spot. Adirondack is two points out of first place in the Northeast Division, which comes with an automatic playoff spot, but it trails eighth-place Worcester by three points for the last overall playoff spot in the conference. The Monarchs hold the seventh spot.

The Phantoms play the two teams they're tied with in the division - Bridgeport and Albany - this weekend.

Loose pucks: Defenseman Cullen Eddy returned to the Phantoms after playing in Greenville over the weekend. Eddy had a goal and two assists in three games with the Road Warriors. ... With Holmstrom gone, the Phantoms have been using three alternate captains. Defenseman Matt Walker has been the new addition, joining Dan Jancevski and Denis Hamel, who have been in the role all season.

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