GLENS FALLS -- Forty-five minutes after the Adirondack Phantoms’ 3-0 loss to Binghamton — the team’s second consecutive shutout loss by that score — head coach Terry Murray had not emerged from his Civic Center office Wednesday night.
A team public relations representative relayed the coach’s message: “I’m not coming out.”
Not only did Murray not want to talk to reporters, but he did not even want to talk to his own players. A source inside the dressing room said Murray did not address the team during the second intermission or after the game.
This was the first time Murray has refused to talk to reporters after a game or practice this season.
The AHL media policy requires all players to be available to the media after a game or practice, but according to AHL Vice President of Communications Jason Chaimovitch, the coach is within his rights to not make himself available “by the letter of the policy.” He was planning to look into the situation on Thursday.
The game was not the Phantoms’ worst of the season, but it was the first time they have been shut out back to back and the somber, frustrated mood was palpable in the dressing room after the game.
The players were quick to shower, dress and leave the arena. Very few even spoke to each other. Defenseman Oliver Lauridsen was one of the few players to linger, sitting at his locker staring at the ground for a few moments before heading to the shower.
The game started out as many games have this season — the energy level wasn’t high, but the Phantoms put together some decent hockey. They played a scoreless period that featured some nice chances and a few big saves by Brian Boucher.
The “compete level” to which Murray, various players and assistant coach Riley Cote have referred throughout the year, seemed to deteriorate as the game went on, however.
“We gotta clean up a few things locker room-wise,” left wing Jon Sim said. “Just being ready to play. We have to get some passion back in our game. Sometimes you gotta play on the edge, you gotta play with passion, you gotta play with spark.”
The Phantoms did stick with the Senators, the second-best team in the conference, through most of the game.
Early in the second period, Corey Cowick put Binghamton on the board, but still Adirondack hung around. It was not until Daniel New scored a power-play goal with 2:01 to play that the game really seemed out of reach.
The Phantoms have turned it on late in the third frequently enough for that to still be a possibility until then. And then Binghamton sealed it with an empty-netter that Brett Lebda scored on a shot from his own zone that looked more like clear attempt than a shot.
The overall performance did not seem to match the reaction, but after a season of up-and-downs, it may have all caught up with the Phantoms.
“It’s been a thing this year, up and down, up and down,” Cullen Eddy said.
Wednesday, it came down to a lack of energy, once again.
“You can’t just throw your sticks out there and play hockey, you gotta play with passion, you gotta play with an edge,” Sim reiterated. “It was kinda that way of the game. We didn’t have it.”
Binghamton 0 1 2 — 3
Adirondack 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Jessiman, Bng (interference), 1:37; Sim, Adk (cross-checking), 11:12; Pageau, Bng (high-sticking), 15:30; Slater, Adk (delay of game — faceoff violation), 18:48.
Second Period—1, Binghamton, Cowick 7 (Gazley, Pageau), 1:05. Penalties—Slater, Adk (holding the stick), 3:38; Dziurzynski, Bng (interference), 5:43; Harper, Adk (tripping), 6:23; Eddy, Adk (slashing), 16:19; Syvret, Adk (tripping), 17:03; Eckford, Bng (roughing), 19:45; Kramer, Bng (fighting), 19:45; Manning, Adk (fighting), 19:45.
Third Period—2, Binghamton, New 1 (Schneider, Gryba), 17:59 (pp). 3, Binghamton, Lebda 1, 18:24 (en). Penalties—Gryba, Bng (high-sticking), 2:24; Jessiman, Bng (roughing), 7:20; Wideman, Bng (fighting), 15:23; Bordson, Adk (fighting), 15:23; Konan Adk (tripping), 16:49.
Shots on Goal—Binghamton 11-12-5-28. Adirondack 8-11-10-29.
Power Play Opportunities—Binghamton 1 / 7; Adirondack 0 / 6.
Goalies—Binghamton, Lehner 17-7-1 (29 shots-29 saves). Adirondack, Boucher 2-3-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees—Terry Koharski (10), Mark Lemelin (41).