From the Northway to the Parkway, the Albany Devils and Adirondack Phantoms squared off in an afternoon tilt in Atlantic City, NJ. It was the first contest in Atlantic City since the old Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL skated off into the sunset in 2005. It was also the Albany Devils first “home win” of December in a 4-2 final.
Early in the first, in front of what seemed to be mostly a pro Philadelphia Flyers contingent, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond gave Matt Clackson a serious beat down, which led to some booing. Though regardless of what the crowd thought, the fight was enough to ignite the Devils offense. Nick Palmieri on a feed from David McIntyre scored his fifth goal of the season, beating former Albany River Rats goalie Michael Leighton to put the Devils out front 1-0.
Shortly after it was Adam Henrique from Matt Anderson, lifting his second goal in as many nights over the glove of Leighton for his seventh of the season and a 2-0 Albany lead.
Then later in the first the Phantoms cut down the Devils lead, when defenseman Kevin Marshall off an assist from Mike Testwuide beat Jeff Frazee for his first marker on the season, making it 2-1. Speaking of Testwuide, he and Rob Davidson would end up getting in a scrap near the end of a contentious first period.
After some testiness in the second, the Devils continued to show off their retooled penalty kill by scoring on it. Trevor Kell was able to net his first goal of the season short-handed to give the Devils a 3-1 edge. The Phantoms were 0-3 on the power-play as were the Devils. Over the three game weekend teams were 0-11 against the Devils penalty killing unit, which came in ranked dead last in the AHL.
Shortly after the shorthanded goal, Adirondack struck right back. It only took 96 seconds later for Luke Pither to beat Frazee for his third goal on the year. Pither was assisted by Denis Hamel and Mike Testwuide, Testwuide’s second on the game.
However “swift justice” would prevail as Michael Swift beat Michael Leighton as Leighton couldn’t cover up a loose rebound in front and thus salted away a 4-2 win for the Devils. For Swift it was his fifth goal and he was assisted by Trevor Kell and Tim Sestito.
It was the second win in a row for the Devils and Frazee whose 26 stops bested Leighton’s 23.
The win improves the Albany Devils mark to 11-13-0-0 (22 points) on the year. With the win over Adirondack they also improve to 6-4-0-0 (12 points) good enough for second place, tied for first in points in the Empire State Cup Standings. Their next contest is at home in Albany on Wednesday night against the Hershey Bears.
Meanwhile the loss for the Adirondack Phantoms drops them to 3-20-2-0 (8 points), making them the first team in the AHL to lose 20 games this season. The Phantoms next contest is Friday night in Syracuse when they take on the Syracuse Crunch. The Phantoms remain fourth in the Empire Cup Standings at 2-5-1-0 (5 points), just ahead of the Crunch in the loss column.