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October 8, 2011





Glens Falls, NY- Phantoms fans were treated to a great pregame show featuring the brand new video boards and then enjoyed a stirring comeback in the team’s big Opening Night as they knocked off the Connecticut Whale 6-3.

After falling behind 3-1 early in the second period, the Adirondack Phantoms exploded for five-straight goals for the exciting win in front of 4,521 raucous fans at Glens Falls Civic Center.

Along with the Phantoms’ first win of the season, Saturday night’s contest also featured the debut of two state-of-the art video boards, along with a brand-new sound system. The improvements helped create an electric atmosphere in Glens Falls, as the home team skated away with an impressive Opening Night win over their new division rival.

Mayor Jack Diamond opened the evening by helping unveil the new improvements and thanking the collaborative efforts of the many groups and individuals that made it possible. What followed was three hours of celebrating, fun and hockey as the home team picked up where they left off at the conclusion of the previous season. The Phantoms won their final seven home games of 2011-12 and extended that streak to eight straight backed by the nonstop noise in the building.

Six different Phantoms lit the lamp in the comeback including Oskars Bartulis, Denis Hamel, Kevin Marshall, Luke Pither, Eric Wellwood and the empty-net capper from Mike Testwuide to close the night. Marshall’s powerful slapshot had tied the game at 3-3 and Pither’s goal completed the comeback to push the Phantoms out in front for good.

Denis Hamel (1g, 2a), Brayden Schenn (2a) and Oskars Bartulis (1g, 1a) were the key offensive contributors for Adirondack, on a night in which 11 different Phantoms recorded points.

Michael Leighton made 24 saves for the 178th win in his professional career.

Center Kris Newbury scored all three of the Whale’s goals in building the visitors’ advantage to 3-1 early in the second period. Cameron Talbot took the loss in goal by allowing five goals on 23 shots.

The Whale struck first and took less than a minute into the 2011-12 season to do so. Out of a net-mouth scramble, Connecticut’s leading scorer from 2010-11, Kris Newbury, batted a puck through Leighton’s legs that barely trickled past the goal-line, for his first-of-three strikes in the game just 37 seconds into the contest.

The Phantoms’ pulled even nine minutes later as Oskars Bartulis scored Adirondack’s first goal of the season. The assist went to Brayden Schenn capitalizing on a Whale turnover. Schenn recorded his first point as a Phantom by finding Bartulis in the high slot during a 4-on-2 rush for Adirondack. Schenn dazzled with his playmaking ability throughout the night. The fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles Kings showed why he is so highly regarded.

In the meanwhile, Bartulis was one of the least likely candidates to score the team's first goal of the season. It was just the seventh goal of his professional career now entering his sixth season.

The game stayed tied for less than three minutes, as Newbury swooped in from the high slot and backhanded home his second goal of the night, past an out-stretched Leighton. Newbury scored again, for a hat trick, and made the score 3-1 in favor of the Whale by scoring a power-play goal at 1:09 of the second period.

The Phantoms revved up their comeback by scoring two goals 10 minutes apart in the second period. Denis Hamel cut Connecticut’s lead to 3-2 at 2:53 of the second period by tallying the 316th AHL goal of his career. The Phantoms scoring leader last season with 25 goals and 50 points is now tied for 15th all-time in American Hockey League history with current Washington Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau who also scored 316 AHL goals.

Kevin Marshall tied the game at 11:11 of the second by blistering a slap shot over Whale goalie Cameron Talbot’s left shoulder. Schenn and Hamel each registered their second points of the game with assists.

Adirondack scored its third-straight goal in the second period and took its first lead, 4-3, when Luke Pither scored the eventual game-winning goal by sliding the puck just inside the left post with three minutes left in the middle period. With an assist on the play, Blake Kessel got the first point of his professional career, in his first professional game. Kessel smartly kept it in on the right point causing the Whale turnover that led to the goal. Kessel comes to the Phantoms from the University of New Hampshire. He is the younger brother Phil Kessel who had a hat-trick tonight for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Midway through the third period, Eric Wellwood scored on the power-play of the game and made the score 5-3. Wellwood beat Talbot with a low shot after sneaking down the left-wing side, and being hit with a cross-ice pass from Garrett Roe.

The Whale pulled their goalie in the game’s final minute, but couldn’t sneak a pea past Michael Leighton, who made 18 of his 24 saves over the final two periods.

Mike Testwuide added an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining, as the Phantoms went on to cap a perfect evening with a 6-3 decision on Opening Night.

Connecticut outshot the Phantoms 27-24. Adirondack went 1-for-4 on the power-play while the Whale were 1-for-6.

Following the game, the Phantoms auctioned off their retro-style White-and-Black Opening Night jerseys to the crowd. The classic design with the Adirondack cursive spelled out across the front were received extremely well by the Phantoms faithful.

Fans received Phantoms Magnet Schedules courtesy of Great Meadow Federal Credit Union. And Nemer Ford were the presenting sponsors of the hugely successful Opening Night.


Blake Kessel and Garrett Roe each got their first professional points, with assists.

2010-11 Phantoms MVP Ben Holmstrom was tabbed as the team’s captain earlier in the week. Veterans Dan Jancevski and Denis Hamel were names the alternate captains.

Holmstrom did not play due to a two game suspension from a hit last Sunday in the team’s concluding preseason contest at Wilkes-Barre.

Other scratches for the game included Marc-Andre Bourdon, Stefan Legein, Garrett Klotz, Tom Sestito, Jon Kalinski and Johan Backlund.

The Phantoms are off for six days and return to action next Friday at home against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. It is the only home game of the weekend for the Phantoms who will hit the road Saturday at Syracuse and Sunday down at Bridgeport.

Upcoming Events:

Monday, Oct 10 - Phantoms Golf Scramble at Hiland Golf Course. One Phantoms player or staff on each foursome. Space is limited. Call the Phantoms to reserve your spot.

Friday, Oct 14 , 7:00pm - Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms

Monday, October 17, 7:00pm - "Phantoms Power Hour" LIVE from McGinney's Tavern, 193 Glen Street. Come join the fun as we bring the new weekly Phantoms radio program live to the fans.

Mark your calendars! Adirondack Phantoms Opening Night is Saturday, October 8. The Phantoms take on the Connecticut Whale to begin the third season of exciting Phantoms hockey in Glens Falls.

Get great savings and have fun with your friends, family or co-workers by bringing your group of 15 or more fans to enjoy fast-paced, hard-hitting Phantoms hockey. Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355 and check the team's website at phantomshockey.com.

Catch all the action of Phantoms hockey all season long on the team's flagship station, Classic Hits Q101.7 and on phantomshockey.com. Bob Rotruck, the "Voice of the Phantoms", has the broadcast coverage 30 minutes prior to game-time with Countdown to Faceoff.

The Adirondack Phantoms are now over 10,000 members strong on their social media networks. Be sure to follow us on twitter @phantomshockey and on facebook.com/adkhockey






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