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Leighton with Spectacular 1-0 Shutout Win

March 23, 2012





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 Friday night.

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' duel nonetheless.

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 0-for-5.

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 Penguins' home-ice.

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 Hospital.


Upcoming Events

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 Casey Plaza

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), 13:43.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 8-7-6-21. W-B/Scranton 10-8-6-24.
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 saves).
A-7,349
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Jud Ritter (34), Bob Fyrer (72).

 


 




 
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