Philadelphia welcomes home the Phantoms

This article can be found published on Chicks Who Give a Puck.
The Adirondack Phantoms returned to play a game in Philadelphia, the place they called home from 1996-2009. (Candice Monhollan)

The Adirondack Phantoms returned to play a game in Philadelphia, the place they called home from 1996-2009. (Candice Monhollan)

The Adirondack Phantoms returned to Philadelphia to play for their original home Friday night against the rival and first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Phantoms played in front of their largest “home” crowd of the season when 18,056 fans came out to see them. They gave the crowd a thrilling game and sent them into a frenzy with a 4-2 win.

To put the attendance in perspective, the Phantoms averaged only 3,155 fans in Glen Falls, N.Y. heading into the Friday’s game.

Michael Leighton returned to the ice at the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Patrick Kane scored the overtime Stanley Cup winning goal on June 9. He put on quite a show, stopping 38 of the 40 shots he was peppered with from the Penguins, especially in the second and third periods when the Phantoms were out-shot 18-8 and 17-5, respectively.

It was only Leighton’s second win of the season and first since being sent down to the team through waivers.

The two teams were tied at 2 heading into the third period after goals from rookie Eric Wellwood and a shorthanded goal from Greg Moore off a beautiful feed from Wellwood.

The game looked to be heading into overtime, but Michael Ryan had other plans.  He buried a goal behind Penguins goaltender John Curry with 1:30 left in regulation. Denis Hamel sealed it with his empty-net goal in the final 14 seconds.

The team appreciated the support from Philadelphia, as was evident in postgame interviews and Tweets from the players:

“We really didn’t know how many fans to expect,” Leighton said afterward. “We heard there was going to be quite a few. I think this is more than we expected. This was great. All the guys were excited about it when we were out there for warmups. We couldn’t ask for anything better. The fans – I can’t say enough about them here. They’re great and they spoil us really well.”

Stefan Legein (@stefanlegein) – “Huuuuge win! Unreal fan support tonight! Got away with a real grimy play tonight, but I LOVED it”

Mike Testwuide (@MikeTestwuide) – “Big time win for the boys tonight! Thanks for the unbelievable atmosphere Philly!”

This was the first win against the Penguins this season for the Phantoms after four previous losses. The Phantoms have now won back-to-back games.

The 18,056 fans were the 10th largest crowd for a regular season game in American Hockey League history.  According to the AHL, six of the top 10 largest crowds have been at the Wells Fargo Center.


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Categories: AHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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