GLENS FALLS -- By chance or circumstance, neither Jason Bacashihua or Shane Harper have had much of an opportunity to contribute to the Adirondack Phantoms' success this season.
Saturday, they moved to center stage as the Phantoms beat the Toronto Marlies 2-1 in a shootout in front of a season-high crowd of 4,680 at the Civic Center.
Bacashihua, the backup goaltender, made 26 saves, including a game-saver in the final minute of regulation, and Harper had his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1 in the second.
"Whenever I get my opportunity, I've got to come out and play well," Bacashihua said. "I've been in this situation before so I know how to handle it."
The Phantoms needed every one of his saves.
The Adirondack offense, so prolific over the first handful of games this season, had gone into a premature winter slumber the last couple of weeks as the Phantoms had only two even-strength goals in their last four games.
The Phantoms may not have the goals to show for their efforts Saturday, but their chances were much crisper and came more often. They outshot the Marlies 34-27.
"We were able to put more pucks to the net and get rebounds and put the other team back on its heels a little bit," Phantoms head coach Joe Paterson said. "I liked that part of our game tonight."
They had nothing, however, until Harper converted a cross-ice pass from Jason Akeson on a three-on-two. The goal was a big lift for Harper, who was a healthy scratch Friday and split his time between Adirondack and the ECHL last season.
"For sure, (it was big), for the team and myself. It's always nice to get that first one," Harper said. "A lot of pressure off. You can breathe again and worry about playing the game again instead of just scoring."
This was just Bacashihua's third start since Oct. 15, but he didn't look rusty. He allowed just a 4-on-3 power play goal, and that came after a diving stop with his stick. He lost his last start on Oct. 26 against Norfolk in a shootout, but was beaten just once on Saturday.
"It's been tough to get him in there, but he's been a really good pro for us with a good attitude so it was nice to see him go in and to play well," Paterson said.
The shootout format hasn't been kind to the Phantoms as they have lost seven of their last eight dating back to last season. But Akeson, Denis Hamel and Eric Wellwood scored on the first three chances to give the Phantoms the shootout win and extra standings point.
With the win, the Phantoms salvaged the weekend and moved into a first-place tie with Connecticut and Albany in the Northeast Division. The Phantoms got off to a slow start Friday after a long layoff and then came alive for two goals in the third in a 3-2 loss to Syracuse.
"Those two goals carried over," Bacashihua said. "I think we were a lot better team tonight than we were (Friday)."
Toronto (6-5-2-1) 0 1 0 0 0 - 1
Adirondack (8-4-0-1) 0 1 0 0 1 - 2
First period - None. Penalties - Marshall, Adk (delay of game), 3:16; Engel, Tor (roughing), 5:09; Finger, Tor (roughing), 5:49; Sestito. Adk (double-minor-roughing), 5:49; Roe Adk (hooking), 7:56; Blacker, Tor (holding), 12:20; Wilson, Tor (cross-checking), 17:07; Kadri, Tor (cross-checking), 19:59; Lauridsen, Adk (tripping), 19:59.
Second period - 1, Toronto, Zigomanis 3 (Blacker, Mikus), 0:59 (pp); 2, Adirondack, Harper 1 (Akeson, Walker), 10:57. Penalties - Holmstrom, Adk (slashing), 0:15; D'Amigo, Tor (holding), 14:46.
Third period - None. Penalties - Acton, Tor (slashing), 7:09; Kadri, Tor (roughing), 19:56; Walker, Adk (cross-checking), 19:56.
Overtime - None. Penalties - None.
Shootout - Toronto 1 (Kadri NG, Zigomanis NG, Hamilton G, Mikus NG); Adirondack 3 (Akeson G, Hamel G, Bartulis G, Wellwood NG).
Shots on Goal - Toronto 10-8-7-2-0-27; Adirondack 9-14-10-1-1-35.
Power-play opportunities - Toronto 1 / 3; Adirondack 0 / 4.
Goalies - Toronto, Owuya 1-1-1 (34 shots-33 saves); Adirondack, Bacashihua 2-1-1 (27 shots-26 saves).
Referee - Brown. A - 4,680.