Michael Leighton turned in another spectacular
performance and the Adirondack Phantoms were able
to scratch and claw their way to the finish-line
of a heart-stopping 1-0 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
The second shutout of the season for Leighton
is the 36th of his AHL career moving him from
6th all the way up to 4th all-time in league history.
The 30-year old from Petrolia, Ontario has the
most shutouts of any AHL goalie since 1975.
The big road victory was crucial for the Phantoms
late-season playoff drive as they entered play
on Friday night trailing the eighth and final
Eastern Conference playoff spot by just five points
with only 12 games remaining.
Jason Akeson's 11th goal of the season midway
through the first period on a fine backhand assist
from the right circle by Tye McGinn would turn
out to be the only goal either side would score
in the game. Then the Phantoms relied on Michael
Leighton to steal the show. And they needed every
one of his 24 stops to escape with the gutty win.
The game was a rematch of one of the most epic
goaltenders' duels in AHL history. On April 24,
2008, Michael Leighton and Scott Munroe battled
in a league-record five overtime marathon battle.
Leighton with the Albany River Rats and Munroe
playing for the Philadelphia Phantoms. Leighton
established an improbable, new AHL record with
98 saves on 101 shots but was the losing goalie
to Munroe who made "only" 65 saves in
the 3-2 final in that classic.
This one didn't go five overtimes like that amazing
playoff game of 2008. But it was a memorable goaltenders'
Leighton's biggest save of the night by far was
a thievery of Alex Grant midway through the third
when he was left open right on top of the crease.
Leighton went down but Grant shot the puck high.
As Wilkes-Barre fans began to celebrate what they
saw as an automatic goal, Leighton's glove snapped
up almost seemingly out of nowhere to make one
of his most incredible saves of the year.
The key stop was reminiscent of the backhand
windmill style stop that Leighton magically came
up with a couple weeks earlier in front of a huge
sellout crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
This one against Grant was very good too and drew
a large ovation from the many Phantoms and Flyers
fans who could be seen in attendance proudly wearing
their orange inside Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Penguins had several other close calls and
had some continued pressure in the Adirondack
zone. A few loose pucks in the blue paint were
cleared away by timely Phantoms defenders. The
Phantoms were also able to kill three Wilkes-Barre
power plays in the exciting third period.
It is Leighton's second 1-0 victory at Wilkes-Barre
in a little over a year. He outdueled Brad Thiessen
in a 1-0 final on February 11, 2011 as well.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot the Phantoms 24-21
but the final shot count did not quite tell the
true story of the offensive chances the Penguins
generated through the game. Adirondack was 0-for-4
on the power play while the Penguins finished
The season series concluded at one game apiece.
Wilkes-Barre won in Glens Falls earlier in the
month and the Phantoms returned the favor on the
The game featured the return of Erik Gustafsson
and Brandon Manning who were both returned to
Adirondack after stays with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Also coming back to the lineup was Matt Walker
who had missed the two previous games with injury.
18-year old Derek Mathers made his pro debut
and even had a scoring try on a 2-on-1 rush with
Mike Testwuide. The Peterborough Petes enforcer
had 177 penalty minutes this year in the OHL and
was a 7th round pick of the Flyers in 2011.
Scratches for the game included Blake Kessel,
Tyler Brown, Garrett Klotz, Luke Pither, Cullen
Eddy and Oskars Bartulis.
Adirondack looks to gain more ground in their
climb up the Eastern Conference standings in a
key four-point game against Springfield on Saturday
night in the Glens Falls Civic Center who are
immediately ahead of the Phantoms in the standings.
The homestand continues on Sunday afternoon against
Binghamton at 3:00.
Saturday night is Star Wars Night with the Phantoms
and also features a 3:00 Guns N Hoses Charity
game to benefit NY Special Olympics to precede
the Phantoms contest against the Falcons at 7:00.
Sunday's game is Mascot Mania to celebrate Dax's
birthday and also includes a post-game open-skate
with the Phantoms players courtesy of Glens Falls
Friday, March 23, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Saturday, March 24, 7:00 - Springfield Falcons
at Adirondack Phantoms. Guns 'N Hoses Charity
Game at 3:00 to benefit NY Special Olympics. Star
Wars Night presented by the Upstate NY 501st Garrison
Unit. Silent Auction for Pink in the Rink Sticks.
Sunday, March 25, 3:00 - Binghamton Senators
at Adirondack Phantoms. Dax's Birthday Party!
Mascot Mania!! Post-game skate with the Phantoms
players presented by Glens Falls Hospital.
Monday, March 26 - No Phantoms Power Hour Show
due to busy game schedule
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 - Adirondack Phantoms
at Syracuse Crunch
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.
The Sunday Family 3-Pack is available for ALL
Sunday home games! Get 3 tickets, 3 hot dogs,
3 sodas, 1 large popcorn and 1 program all for
only $39. That's a savings of $26!
Follow the Phantoms at facebook.com/ADKhockey
and on twitter @phantomshockey
Adirondack Phantoms 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Penguins 0 - Status: Final
Friday, March 23, 2012 - Mohegan Sun Arena at
Adirondack 1 0 0 - 1
W-B/Scranton 0 0 0 - 0
1st Period-1, Adirondack, Akeson 11 (McGinn,
Gustafsson), 8:59. Penalties-Testwuide Adk (fighting),
2:07; DeFazio Wbs (fighting), 2:07; Williams Wbs
(hooking), 10:05; Zolnierczyk Adk (holding), 19:18.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mormina Wbs
(slashing), 1:36; Testwuide Adk (interference),
8:41; Strait Wbs (cross-checking), 19:49.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mathers Adk
(holding), 2:26; Bourdon Adk (tripping), 6:43;
Walker Wbs (roughing), 12:32; Ford Adk (hooking),
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 8-7-6-21. W-B/Scranton
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 4; W-B/Scranton
0 / 5.
Goalies-Adirondack, Leighton 22-23-0 (24 shots-24
saves). W-B/Scranton, Munroe 17-7-3 (21 shots-20
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Jud Ritter (34), Bob Fyrer (72).