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03-12-2013, 02:43 PM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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Third line RW earlier this week at Phantoms' practice.

Article from December:

GLENS FALLS - There are scores of ways a professional hockey player might try to break out of a slump.

They range from spending some extra time on the ice at the end of practice to altering a pre-game ritual.

But the effectiveness of those methods depends on a player being in the line-up on game night. After all, a player can’t score if he isn’t on the ice. Welcome to the world of Adirondack Phantoms winger Matt Ford.

On paper, he is one of the AHL’s elite snipers, one of just eight to score 25 times in each of the past two seasons, and was a point-per-game player last season after he was traded in February to the Phantoms.

Now, two months into the season, Ford is still searching for his first goal. He’s been scratched 11 times in Adirondack’s past 20 games. Coach Terry Murray has twice played Zack FitzGerald, a tough defenseman with 10 career goals, on the wing over Ford even as Adirondack is scoring a lowly 2.57 goals per game.

But the 28-year-old spent the week practicing with Eric Wellwood and Garrett Roe on Adirondack’s third line, which indicates he’ll be back in the line-up when the Phantoms host the Syracuse Crunch Friday at the Civic Center. He could see more ice time now that wing Ben Holmstrom will undergo knee surgery.

"You want to be out there every night," Ford said. "When you’re an athlete, if you don’t want to be on the ice or you don’t want to be out there, then you’re in the wrong business. When you look at any guy that’s in that position, including myself, you just want to be out there and you want to be a part of things."

Ford was in the center of a lot of things for Adirondack last season.

The Phantoms scored 81 goals after Ford was traded to the team. He had 19 of them, nearly 25 percent. He was also killing penalties and blocking shots. Then-coach Joe Paterson lauded his all-around game.

The Philadelphia Flyers, so impressed by Ford’s work ethic, scoring prowess and play away from the puck, re-signed him to a new deal before his breakthrough year concluded. He started this season on a line with Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, which had the potential to be one of the AHL’s most lethal trios.

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