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Recap: Adirondack Phantoms @ Amerks, 02.24.12

02/25/12

“They all say that we’ve been breaking out, too young to know what it’s all about.” (Green River Ordinance, Outside)

Waiting for the puck to drop...eventually.

OK, Derek Whitmore. I’ll stop doubting you and your promising tweets. Start promising us bigger and better, because it might just come true.

I’m trying to decide if Friday night’s game was a good game because: A) I was not expecting the Amerks to win (I KNOW. But history indicates that this game was not in our favor), B) We need the two points like no one’s business, or C) I got to watch Marcus Foligno FLY THROUGH THE AIR (on a goal that was ruled no goal). The answer, clearly, is D) All of the above. I said it after the Bears game, and I will say it tonight: If this team played this good consistently, they would be unstoppable. I mean, they just would be. All the pieces have fit into place the last two games, and they’re fun to watch. I can’t imagine that any hockey fan would have watched this game and said, “oh, no. Ut-uh. This team is terrible and I’m never watching them play again.” It’s just not possible.

To say that the Amerks don’t have such a great “two in a row” record would be putting it … lightly. It’s rather disheartening to talk about how important these games are for the playoff push in one breath, and then talk about how it’s been quite some time (like December) since they’re put together two home wins. But Derek Whitmore promised us that they’d give us two, and gave us two they did.

As a matter of fact, they gave us two beauts of goals. The first goal was scored at the eleven minute mark of the first period, by Mr Whitmore himself. Luke Adam – who is playing a much more solid game, PS by the way – and Joe Finley had the assists. Not long after that, the most gorgeous play I have ever seen EVER happened, leading to the first waved off goal of the night. Marcus Foligno just schooled every Adirondack player on the ice to bury the puck in the Phantoms net while he was flying through the air. Yes, you read that right. He scored the goal while flying through the air. When Foligno landed, he landed on goaltender (and former Amerk … and former Philadelphia Flyer) Leighton, however, and the goal was disallowed. On replay on the jumbotron, however, it was evident that Foligno’s contact with the goaltender came well after the puck was in the net, and the goal should’ve stood. Along with a goal that wasn’t, Foligno also took a two minute penalty for goaltender interference.

The Amerks second goal was scored by Dennis Persson on the power play in the second period, with assists to Travis Turnbull and Luke Adam. The second “goal that wasn’t” of the game involved Adirondak. As it happened at the opposite end of the ice from where I sit, I cannot say for sure what happened. What I can tell you is that we heard the shot ring off the post, the goal light went on then quickly back off again, and there was an announcement shortly after stating that there was no goal, and that an error had been made with the goal light.

I really cannot say enough good things about Marcus Foligno during this game. The kid plays his ass off every night, and is really turning into the whole package, as far as players go. He follows through on the play, he finishes his checks, and he just seems to have a great read on how the play will unfold so that he can be in it when it happens, instead of just watching things happen. He’s not afraid to use his 6’3, 227lb body, and seems comfortable in his own skin. As much as I want to see him in Buffalo, this organization would do him well to keep him in Rochester a bit longer and let him fully develop to his potential before they put him back in the show.

Game notes: Mike Ryan, Alex Biega, Cory Fienhage, Matt MacKenzie, and Drew Schiestel were all scratches for this game. Ryan, apparently, continues to recover from an “upper body injury” sustained against Lake Erie on February 19. We can only hope it’s not like the last “above the shoulders” injury he had, that kept him sidelined for over 40 games. Conversely, Evan Rankin, who has been out for 20+ games due to concussion (following a NASTY dirty hit sustained while the team was in Oklahoma City), returned to the lineup, filling a spot vacated by the called up Corey Tropp … David Leggio stopped 27 shots in his shutout. In the second period, the Amerks held the Phantoms to only five shots on goal. Derek Whitmore now leads the Amerks with 23 goals, and Luke Adam has five assists in six games with Rochester. Also, I’d be interested in knowing what Jacob Lagace’s TOI was for this game. It seemed like everywhere I looked, I saw him, but I’ve been unable to find a time-on-ice report for the AHL … Rochester was 1 for 4 on the PP, while Adirondack was 0 for 2 … The Phantoms have been shut out four times this season, including three of their last ten games … While Michael Leighton started in net, the Phantoms would’ve been hard-pressed if something had (godforbid) happened to him – their other ‘tender, Jason Bacashihua was ill, and their emergency fill-in never showed for the game.

The Amerks welcome the Lake Erie Monsters back again on Saturday, February 25. I can only imagine that the Amerks will hope to capitalize on a brutal travel schedule for LEM that included a home game against Hershey on 2/23 (W, 4-3), a game at Grand Rapids on 2/24 (L, 6-1), and the 2/25 game against the Amerks. The last time these two teams met on Rochester ice, the Amerks won, 6-2. Coming off of two strong home games, and knowing how bad these points against LEM are needed, the Amerks will really need to get down to business and get the job done on Saturday. See you at the game!

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