It's amazing how quickly we have arrived here
but the team has actually reached the halfway
pole of the regular season. Time to reflect back
on an exciting first-half of the year and project
ahead to what may be in store in half number two.
Monday's game at Albany was the 38th out of 76
regular season contests for the Adirondack Phantoms
thus marking the midway point. Adirondack stands
at 20-16-2 and are in the thick of great playoff
races in both the Northeast Division and the Eastern
The Phantoms are an impressive 13-6-1 on home
ice and Joe Paterson has his team playing better
Certainly the biggest highlight of the first half
of the season came just a couple weeks ago when
the team traveled to Philadelphia for their Outdoor
Classic game against the Hershey Bears. It was
a magical night at Citizens Bank Park which featured
a crowd of 45,653 that more than doubled the previous
league attendance record and a storybook comeback
for the Phantoms with Ben Holmstrom tying the
game with just 20.8 seconds remaining and then
Shane Harper scoring the game-winner in the first
minute of overtime.
That amazing night and terrific game only counted
for two points in the standings though. The Phantoms
have also racked up 19 other important wins to
put themselves in their current position where
fans are scoreboard watching and thinking playoffs.
The Phantoms had some real thrillers at the Glens
Falls Civic Center including three overtime winners
in front of large crowds on Saturday nights. Jon
Kalinski had a game-winning goal on November 26
vs. Albany in front of a near sellout crowd of
4,730. Ben Holmstrom potted an overtime tally
on December 10 vs. Rochester. And Mike Testwuide
finished off 2011 in style with a New Year's Eve
overtime goal against Albany.
And don't forget the incredible 12-round marathon
shootout on December 30 against Portland. Tyler
Brown put a close to the great win while Jason
Bacashihua allowed only one goal of the Pirates'
Another great game was on October 29 at the Glens
Falls Civic Center when Harry Zolniercyzk's later
goal gave the Phantoms a hard-fought 2-1 win over
Hershey. November 10 featured more great hockey
and the Phantoms knocked off the Toronto Marlies
in a shootout with Bacashihua and Toronto's Mark
Owuya seemingly one-upping each other as both
netminders made tremendous saves on each side.
Included in those saves was one of Bacashihua's
best of the year to force overtime, denying Toronto's
Mike Zigomanis on an odd-man rush with just 10
seconds remaining in regulation.
The year started off with a bang as well. The
introduction of the new video-screens and audio
system on Opening Night, October 8 paved the way
for an exciting season starting win 6-3 over Connecticut.
20-year-old rookie Brayden Schenn scored his first
professional hat-trick on October 14 against Bridgeport,
shortly before being called up to Philadelphia.
Other milestones in the first half of the season
included Denis Hamel catching former Adirondack
Red Wing and Adirondack Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn
Merkosky for 12th all-time in the AHL in goals
with 325. Hamel's long empty-netter at Norfolk
on December 2 put him into the tie with Merkosky.
Hamel passed Merkosky when he scored his 326th
goal on December 17th at Syracuse.
Joe Paterson's 37th win with the Phantoms was
his 100th career professional head coaching win,
all in the AHL. It came on November 30th against
On New Year's Eve, Denis Hamel played in his 1000th
professional hockey game which includes 808 AHL
games and also 192 NHL games, mostly with Buffalo
and Ottawa. On that same night, Dan Jancevski
became just the 12th defenseman and 33rd player
all-time to play in his 800th career AHL game.
Michael Leighton recorded his 35th career AHL
shutout on October 21 at Portland putting him
one closer to the top five all-time in AHL history.
Leighton currently stands at sixth in total shutouts
and has the most of any AHL goalie since 1975.
He was also named to represent the Phantoms on
the Eastern Conference All-Star team on January
30 in Atlantic City. It will be Leighton's third
appearance in the All-Star Classic having also
been bestowed with the honor in 2002 with Norfolk
and in 2008 with the Albany River Rats in a game
played at Binghamton. Congrats Michael!
Several Phantoms received callups to the Flyers
with many making their NHL debuts. Harry Zolnierczyk,
Kevin Marshall, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Zac Rinaldo,
Ben Holmstrom, Eric Wellwood, Erik Gustafsson,
Brayden Schenn and Tom Sestito have all received
opportunities of varying lengths with the big
There's plenty more in store for the second half
of the season including a playoff race that could
stay tight and exciting throughout. Every game
and every point matters and the Phantoms are counting
on your support to boost them past some very tough
AHL opponents on their road to the AHL postseason.
It's a great time to be an Adirondack Phantoms
Phantoms Leaders (Goals - Assists - Points):
Jason Akeson 10-21-31
Denis Hamel 14-13-27
Ben Holmstrom 11-11-22
Garrett Roe 5-16-21
Eric Wellwood 9-10-19
Mike Testwuide 6-12-18
Tom Sestito 8-8-16
Michael Leighton - 14-13-0, 2.66, .912
Jason Bacashihua - 6-4-1, 3.08, .901
Friday, January 20, 7:00 - Albany Devils at Adirondack
Phantoms. $2 draft beer specials
Saturday, January 21, 7:00 - Bridgeport Sound
Tigers vs. Adirondack Phantoms. Pink in the Rink
with special pink jerseys presented by C.R. Wood
Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital.
Sunday, January 22, 5:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Binghamton Senators
Monday, January 23, 7:00 - Phantoms Power Hour
LIVE at McGinny's on Glen Street and on Q101.7.
Special guests, Mike Testwuide and Tom Sestito.
Also with Tim McManus of the Post-Star.
Wednesday, January 25, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Manchester Monarchs
Get great savings with the Phantoms when you bring
your group of 15 friends or co-workers to a game.
Group-rates available as low as $13 per person.
Call the Phantoms to find out more at 518-480-3355.
Check out the Half-Price Discount Outlet at phantomshockey.com
for great savings from some of our awesome Phantoms
corporate partners. Get half-off cards to local
restaurants and other stores!
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
has the broadcast coverage 30 minutes prior to
game-time with Countdown to Faceoff.. Be sure
to follow the Phantoms on twitter @phantomshockey
and on facebook.com/adkhockey