Friday, February 22, 2013

Phantoms, Penguins do battle on NHL turf

For the first and only time this season, the Adirondack Phantoms (20-25-3) will hold a home game on the home ice of their NHL parent club.

Their opponents will be former division rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (26-22-3). This is the third of four meetings with the Baby Pens this season. WBS won at home by a 2-1 count on January 12 and again at home on February 2 by a 3-0 score.

The Phantoms are 3-4-0 in the month of February and lost their last true "home" game to the Worcester Sharks last Saturday, 3-2.

Adirondack has participated in two previous neutral-site games this season: a 2-1 loss to the Portland Pirates in Lewiston, ME on December 29 and a 3-2 shootout win over the Albany Devils in Atlantic City on January 20.

Adirondack's last game in Philadelphia was the 2012 Outdoor Classic, where it posted a 4-3 overtime win over the rival Hershey Bears in the largest single-game crowd in AHL history. Two seasons ago, the Phantoms posted a 4-2 win vs. these same Penguins at the WFC, and in 2010, they lost a 2-1 overtime decision vs. the Norfolk Admirals.

In a nod to the club's history in Philadelphia (1996-2009), the Phantoms will be wearing retro uniforms, like the ones donned during the team's first Calder Cup triumph back in 1998.

In a testament to the true nature of the support for hockey found in the Adirondacks, a bus load of fans from the Glens Falls area will make up what has been reported to be a sellout crowd.

The largest indoor crowd for a Phantoms game came on June 10, 2005, in Game 4 of the 2005 Calder Cup Finals, where they swept the Chicago Wolves in front of 20,103 customers.

Judging by some of the reactions from Phantoms players, both the crowd and the skaters will have something extra on tap.

"Cant wait to Lace them up tonight at the Wells Fargo Center." - Matt Mangene

"Excited for the big tilly tonight. Should be a good one " - Jason Akeson

"The guys are getting after it tonight!! Just a slight change in location. Might as well... ? Sure." - Garrett Roe

One recent Philadelphia Flyer who will be on the Phantoms' roster is Tom Sestito, "sent down" by the club earlier in the day.

Terry Murray's club has tied for the lowest goal total in the Eastern Conference with 120, along with Norfolk. Only Hamilton (108) has scored fewer times in the entire AHL. Wilkes-Barre comes in with exactly one more total goal than their foes. 

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