Leighton is with Adirondack to try to get healthy
and in game-shape again. After all, he had only
played one game with Philadelphia this year before
taking an injury that knocked him out of action.
Leighton played his first game with the Phantoms
since April 14, 2012 as the Devils snuck through
in a 3-2 final.
A nice-sized and energetic crowd of 4,040 fans
generated a big Sunday hockey atmosphere inside
the Glens Falls Civic Center and many of the fans
stayed late after the game for a 45-minute post-game
photo session with all the players down on the
ice. Especially long lines were seen for a couple
of the most popular Phantoms' players; Michael
Leighton and Zack FitzGerald. The fans were able
to go around to each players' station to meet
all the guys and snap some great pics.
Andreas Lilja scored his first goal as an Adirondack
Phantom and Eric Wellwood had his sixth of the
season with less than two minutes left in a comeback
effort that fell just short. Philip DiSimone scored
two goals for Albany and Joe Whitney had one goal
and two assists as he continued his successful
play against the Phantoms this year. Jeff Frazee
picked up the win for the Devils with 36 saves
on 38 shots.
The fans were rather excited to get the chance
to see Leighton play again in Glens Falls. One
of the most popular players in Adirondack Phantoms'
history is 16th all-time in AHL wins with 170
and is 4th all-time in shutouts with 36. Leighton
began the season not playing due to the NHL lockout
and then played in only one game with Philadelphia
before taking an injury. There were also no preseason
games because of the late start of the NHL regular
season. So this was only Leighton's second game
of the year and he was mixed in with many players
who were somewhere around their 40th or 50th games
of the season.
Leighton said that the decision to come down to
the Adirondack Phantoms was a mutual one with
Philadelphia Flyers general manger Paul Holmgren.
"We talked about it some the past couple
of weeks. When I got healthy again I needed to
play some games," Leighton said following
the game. "He was going to do a conditioning
stint but we had too many players on the roster
and (salary) cap issues. He said, 'We're going
to have to put you on waivers and go down to play
some games and hopefully be back up.' "
His current stint with the Phantoms is a necessary
step to getting game-ready after seeing so little
action this year.
"He (Holmgren) told me I definitely needed
to play and I agreed," Leighton said. "I
hadn't played for awhile. I played one game against
Tampa Bay and then I sat for two or three weeks
and then I got hurt and I've been out for two
or three weeks. It's something I thought was the
right thing to do. I needed to go down and play
some games to get back into the rhythm of playing
Albany and Adirondack battled to a 0-0 score in
the first period. Zack FitzGerald dropped the
gloves with Albany's Cam Jenssen in a particularly
impressive fight. The crowd came to a roar on
a couple of Fitzy's overhand haymakers in one
of the best bouts of the year.
Albany scored early in the second period on a
rush into the Phantoms zone and a shot from the
right circle by Philip DeSimone beating Leighton
over the glove.
A few minutes later, Adirondack was denied by
Frazee on a close call and then Albany was able
to transition back the other way quickly with
Boston College product Joe Whitney chipping in
his 17th goal of the season on a feed from the
right-wing even though he was defended.
Andreas Lilja saw an opening past the left skate
of Frazee and smartly blasted a low slapshot into
the corner for his first goal as a Phantom. For
the 37-year-old not normally known for lighting
the lamp, it was his goal since January 2, 2011
for the Anaheim Ducks against Chicago. It was
also his first AHL goal in 12 years. He had seven
goals in his rookie season in 2000-01 with the
Lowell Lock Monsters and had not scored again
in his very limited and infrequent stints in the
league since then.
A turnover on a cross-ice pass in the Phantoms
zone led to an intercept by Joe Whitney and DeSimone's
second goal of the game to allow Albany to take
a 3-1 lead in the third period.
Shane Harper neatly found Eric Wellwood in the
right circle to roof his sixth of the season with
less than two minutes left. And Adirondack was
given a second-life after that when an Albany
empty-net goal by Mike Sislo was waved off with
1:00 left due to an offside call. But the Phantoms
were unable to get the tying goal even with that
extra chance and extra attacker and took the 3-2
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play. Adirondack
outshot the Devils 38-28.
Scratches for the Phantoms included David Laliberte,
Mitch Wahl and Jeff Dimmen. The Phantoms are currently
carrying three goalies on the roster so Cal Heeter
dressed as the backup goalie to Leighton while
Scott Munroe was a scratch.
The game was the 10th out of 12 in the Time Warner
Cable Cup rivalry series this year and was also
Albany's last visit to Glens Falls. The Phantoms
will travel to the Times Union Center next Sunday
afternoon and later will return to conclude the
regular season on Sunday, April 21.
The Phantoms are at home next weekend for back
to back games on Friday and Saturday against the
Springfield Falcons and Connecticut Whale. $2
Draft Beer Specials on Friday and Phantoms T-Shirt
Giveaway Night (first 2,500 fans) on Saturday.
Call the Phantoms for tickets at 518-480-3355
Albany Devils 3 at Adirondack Phantoms 2 - Status:
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - Glens Falls Civic Center
Monday, March 4 (7:00) -
Phantoms Power Hour on Q1017. With special player
guest Andreas Lilja
Wednesday, March 6 (6:00 - 8:30)
- Season Ticket Holder Party in
Heritage Hall with ALL the players! Lots of prizes.
Lots of food too! Dinner catered by Olive Garden
Friday, March 8 (7:00) -
Springfield Falcons at Adirondack Phantoms. $2
Draft Beer Specials
Saturday, March 9 (7:00) -
Connecticut Whale at Adirondack Phantoms. Phantoms
T-Shirts for first 2,500 fans
Sunday, March 10 (3:00) -
Adirondack Phantoms at Albany Devils
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