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Week in Review in the "A"

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Playoff push is on, as the team works through a challenging run in the schedule

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Adirondack completed three games in three nights this past weekend and a stretch of four games in six nights.  As the playoff race heats up, I am sure Coach Huska was looking for more than four points from this stretch - as the team is "treading water" near the edge of qualifying (BTW - the team sent out the payoff ticket paperwork this week, so we will think positively).

The Games

  • 3/10/15: 2-1 overtime lose to Hamilton at the GFCC.  Adirondack rallies with a third period Bill Arnold goal, only to lose on an odd man rush when overtime went to 3 on 3.
  • 3/13/15: 7-4 loss at Syracuse.  Flames give up four unanswered third period goals against one of the better Eastern Conference squads.  Adirondack outshot the Crunch 38-28.
  • 3/14/15: 5-4 win at home against Toronto.  The Flames scored four times in the first period, and then held on for the win as the Marlies attempted a big rally.  Adirondack was outshot 20-7 in the third period.
  • 3/15/15: 8-7 overtime loss to the Binghamton Senators.  Adirondack rallies with four third period goals to force overtime.

The Standings

The Flames are presently in ninth place - two points out of eighth place with three games in hand, and are three points out of seventh.  Six points separates sixth thorough eleventh - so this is far from over...

The Schedule

The Flames have another big week ahead of them, as they take the road for the midwest.  Two games in Rockford and a game at Grand Rapids are on the docket before they return home.  Adirondack trails both these teams in the standings, and Grand Rapids is the top team in the Western Conference.  When looking beyond this week - the Flames chase for the playoffs will be no easy task.  They only have a couple games against teams that trail them in the standings (but are still in contention) and one Eastern Conference opponent (Syracuse).  The remaining games are against teams they trail and many against the teams at the top of the standings.

Injuries

Certainly the return of Joni Ortio can not happen soon enough, but this week the team faced more injury woes as the team lost Turner Elson, Taylor Vause, Mark Cundari and Bryce Van Brabant to injury.  Elson returned for Sunday's game and it is believed that Vause and Cundari will be back sooner rather than later.  They join Hanowski, Culkin and of course Ortio on the injury list.

This forced Huska to move Patrick Sieloff to wing late this weekend, and the team signed Brant Harris to a PTO, from the Florida Everglades of the ECHL.

Other Observations

  • Although Brad Thiessen has played solidly and Doug Carr has been a bit of a surprise at times, Ortio's return can not happen soon enough.  With the present goaltending situation, it will be unlikely that the team will "steal" any games down the stretch.
  • Devin Setoguchi has picked up his game since returning from injury and the passing of the trade deadline.  He has two goals and three assists in the last three games, and looks like a guy playing for a job next season.
  • Bill Arnold has two goals and three assists since returning from a shoulder injury a week and a half ago.  There is a lot to like about this kid's game.
  • Kenny Agostino is having quite a month of March and is quietly become one of the scoring leaders on the team.  He has two goals and six assists in his last six games and is seeing noticeably more ice time.
  • Garnet Hathaway had a hat trick on Sunday (and an assist as well).  He has 15 goals and 13 assists on the season, and is second on the team in scoring among skaters presently with the team.
  • Max Reinhart is having a good month as well - with three goals and six assists in his last seven games.

With the moves at the trade deadline (call ups as well as the trade) combined with the injuries, the Flames will need to rely on the balanced scoring they have exhibited much of the season.  The playoff push is upon them, and they clearly have their work cut out for them.  The next month will certainly be an exciting run of hockey for this young team and it's fans.  Go Flames.