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Phantoms Mid-Season Report

January 19, 2011

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 Conference.

The Phantoms are an impressive 13-6-1 on home ice and Joe Paterson has his team playing better and 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' 12 shooters.

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 Syracuse.

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 club.

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 fan!

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

Upcoming Events

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





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