In two Empire State Cup tilts in Central New York the Adirondack Phantoms and Albany Devils found themselves on the good side and the bad side of a five spot, against the Syracuse Crunch and Binghamton Senators respectively. Both Albany and Adirondack held unblemished records against their East Division Thruway rivals, but only one would walk away with such a mark intact.
The Phantoms seem to own at least one AHL team this year, that being the Crunch. On the strength of three power-play goals and a flawless penalty kill holding Syracuse to 0-4, Adirondack won by an impressive final count of 5-2. In the win former Albany River Rats puck stopper Michael Leighton won his first decision between the pipes for Adirondack with 29 saves.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Denis Hamel got the Phantoms kick started on one of those power-plays. Hamel registered his seventh goal of the season from Erik Gustafsson and Danny Syvret to tie things at 1-1. Adirondack went up 2-1 with the help of Mike Testwuide’s first, with assists credited to Captain Dan Jancevski and Gustafsson.
After Syracuse squared things at 2-2, Gustafsson rounded out his impressive second period of scoring by netting his third goal of year on the power-play from Hamel and another former River Rat Michael Ryan. That line combo would work again, up 3-2 going into the third, Ryan notched his second of the year on the power-play from Hamel and Gustafsson. The Phantoms capped off their high scoring night with a shorthanded empty netter from Eric Wellwood on assists from Gustafsson and Ryan.
In their 5-2 victory, Adirondack got a five point effort from Gustafsson, and three point nights from veterans and former Rochester Americans Hamel and Ryan. Adirondack is now 2-0 on the season against Syracuse. Their overall record is now 4-20-2-0 (10 points) finally cracking double digits in points.
Coming into the night the Albany Devils trailed the Binghamton Senators by just one point in the East Division standings. With some reinforcements back in forward and captain Stephen Gionta, alternate captain Olivier Magnan and fellow defenseman Anssi Salmela, the Devils looked wobbly like jello and unfortunately weren’t jellin’.
Salmela was a -1 with three shots, while Gionta also had a -1 with two shots and was involved in a fight against the Sens Eric Gryba. Upon getting pelted with 42 shots, Jeff Frazee made 37 stops, but was out dueled by Barry Brust whose 25 denials were good enough for the shutout. On a separate note, former Devils prospect and Albany River Rats defenseman David Hale suited up on the blue line for Binghamton.
The B-Sens totaled five goals from five different players and evened the season series between the two clubs at 1-1-0-0. Also helpful to the Senators cause was their 2-3 mark with the odd-man advantage. Albany’s record falls to 11-15-0-0 (22 points) as they return home for the next two contests.