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AHL Outdoor Classic: Phantoms-Bears

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
PHANTOMS vs. BEARS: The All-Time Series

This is the 172nd meeting regular season meeting between the Phantoms and Hershey. Hershey leads all-time series 82 wins to 81 (8 ties).

* Phantoms all-time record vs. Hershey: 81-80-10
* Hershey all-time record vs. Phantoms: 82-75-14
2011-12 Season Series
Phantoms lead 1 game to 0. October 29 at Glens Falls: ADK 2 - HER 1.
PHANTOMS vs. BEARS: The Outdoor Classic!
On Friday, January 6 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the Phantoms will take on the Hershey Bears on the same ice used by the Flyers and Rangers in the Winter Classic on January 2 to close out a New Year's Week filled with games and excitement in celebration of the sport's roots in the great outdoors . The game is expected to break the all-time AHL attendance record of 21,673 set last year at the Whale Bowl outdoor game in Connecticut..

The historic game will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of the players and a great celebration of hockey, the Phantoms, the Bears and the AHL for everyone involved.

One player with outdoor game experience for the Phantoms is Michael Leighton who started for the Flyers in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston. Leighton took a 2-1 overtime loss in the game in a hard-fought contest. Leighton is expected to get the start this Friday in the Outdoor Classic against Hershey.

It is the third outdoor game in AHL history. In 2010, Syracuse hosted Binghamton at the New York State Fairgrounds. In 2011, Connecticut took on Hartford at Rentshler Field in East Hartford. This game is the first to be held on the same ice as an NHL Winter Classic event.

Friday's game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Network in Philadelphia and in surrounding markets. The game will again be shown on NHL Network on Saturday at 4:00. Brian Smith and Ian Laperriere will announce the action on the television broadcast. Smith is a former broadcaster for the Phantoms who serves as the Philadelphia Flyers Manager of Broadcasting and Media Services. Laperriere is an NHL veteran of over 1,000 games with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers.

Bob Rotruck and Jason Myrtetus will have the radio broadcast of the game in Philadelphia on 610-AM WIP and in Glens Falls on Q101.7-FM. Rotruck is in his second second as Voice of the Phantoms and is a veteran announcer of almost 2,000 games in the four major sports. He also serves as Director of Media Relations for the Adirondack Phantoms. Myrtetus has served as a Flyers radio host and assistant programming director at CBS Radio.
PHANTOMS vs. BEARS: The Playoff History
The Phantoms and Hershey have met four times in the post-season: 1997, 1998, 2000, 2009. Bears lead in post-season games all-time 10 games to 9. The first playoff matchup between a Philadelphia team and Hershey was in 1939 when the Philadelphia Ramblers edged the Hershey Bears 3 games to 2

Calder Cup Pride
Adirondack proudly displays six Calder Cup Championship banners at their home arena; four for the Adirondack Red Wings who played there from 1979-1999, and two for the Phantoms. The Hershey Bears lead all AHL franchises with 11 Calder Cups.
Calder Cups since 1980
Adirondack Red Wings 1981, 1986, 1989, 1992
Philadelphia Phantoms 1998, 2005
Hershey Bears 1980, 1988, 1997, 2006, 2008, 2009
Big Crowds
This is the third outdoor game in American Hockey League history. The first two outdoor games at Syracuse and East Hartford established new records for largest crowds at AHL games.
Six of the top 11 largest regular-season attendance figures in the AHL have been played in Philadelphia. Included in that list is the Phantoms game last season on January 21 that was the 10th largest crowd at the time drawing 18,056. The game was bumped out of the all-time top 10 a month later following the outdoor game in Connecticut. Last year's Phantoms game in Philadelphia was the largest indoor attendance in the AHL in 2010-11 and was the second largest turnout overall.
Additionally, three of the largest 10 post-season attendance figures happened in Philadelphia.
The largest crowd ever for a Phantoms game, regular or post-season, was 20,103 on June 10, 2005 as the Philadelphia Phantoms clinched their second Calder Cup Championship over the Chicago Wolves which is also the largest ever post-season crowd in AHL history and is the second largest indoor crowd and fourth largest overall to watch any AHL game (regular or post-season).
The Phantoms are 4-1-2 all-time when backed by 18,000 or more fans (regular and post-season combined):
1. 21,673               Feb. 19, 2011       Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.   Providence 5, Connecticut 4 (SO)
2. 21,508               Feb. 20, 2010       New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY   Syracuse 2, Binghamton 1
3. 20,672               Jan. 18, 1997       Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.      Carolina 5, Kentucky 4
4. 19,730               Feb. 10, 2001       Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.      Philadelphia 5, Syracuse 5 (OT)
5. 19,532               Feb. 28, 1999       Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.       Philadelphia 3, Kentucky 3 (OT)
6. 18,907               Nov. 20, 1998       Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.            Philadelphia 2, Hartford 1
7. 18,626               Jan. 22, 2010       Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio         Lake Erie 5, Texas 4 (OT)
8. 18,394               Oct. 9, 1998          Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.                               Kentucky 4, Hershey 4 (OT)
9. 18,202               Jan. 13, 2001       Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.            Philadelphia 3, Portland 2
10. 18,076             Mar. 18, 2000       Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.            Rochester 7, Philadelphia 6
11. 18,056             Jan 21, 2011        Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.           Adirondack 4, Wilkes-Barre 2
1.  20,103              June 10, 2005      Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.            *Philadelphia 5, Chicago 2
2. 17,428               June 12, 2003      Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ont.                     *Houston 3, Hamilton 0
3. 17,380               June 10, 1998      Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa.          *Philadelphia 6, Saint John 1
4. 15,132               June 3, 2002        Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Ill.                        *Chicago 4, Bridgeport 3 (2OT)
5. 15,019               May 15, 1973       Auditorium, Buffalo, N.Y.                                   *Cincinnati 5, Nova Scotia 1
6. 15,015               May 13, 2005       MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Man.                            Manitoba 5, Rochester 2
7. 15,003               May 30, 2009       MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Man.                            Hershey 5, Manitoba 4 (OT)
8. 15,003               June 12, 2009      MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Man.                            *Hershey 4, Manitoba 1
9. 14,737               June 2, 2009        MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Man.                            Manitoba 3, Hershey 1
10. 14,208             May 10, 1997       Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa.          Philadelphia 3, Hershey 0
*indicates Calder Cup-clinching game
Phantoms and Bears in the Outdoor Classic who have played with the Philadelphia Flyers:
Adirondack Phantoms:
Erik Gustafsson - 8 games (2010-12)
Jon Kalinski - 22 games (2008-10
Denis Hamel - 7 games (2006-07)
Ben Holmstrom - 4 games (2010-12)
Michael Leighton - 32 games (2007-08, 2009-11)
Kevin Marshall - 10 games (2011-12)
Eric Wellwood - 4 games (2010-11)

Phantoms Coaches

Joe Paterson (Phantoms Head Coach) - 11 games (1984-86,also 17 postseason games in 1984-85)
Riley Cote (Phantoms Assistant Coach) - 156 games (2006-10)
Hershey Bears:
Kyle Greentree - 2 games (2007-08)
Boyd Kane - 23 games (2003-04, 06-07, 08-09)
Ryan Potulny - 44 games (2005-08)
Also on Phantoms roster but not in lineup today:
Oskars Bartulis - 66 games (2009-11)
Tom Sestito - 3 games (2011-12)
Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers)
The Phantoms enter action with a record of 17-14-2 which is good for second place in the Northeast Division. Joe Paterson is in his second season as head coach of the Phantoms while former Flyers and Phantoms tough-guy Riley Cote serves as the team's assistant coach.
Paterson earned his 100th AHL head coaching victory on November 30, 2011. The Glen Lake, NY resident originally from the Toronto area had also served as a head coach of the Louisville Panthers from 1999-2001. Paterson played in 291 NHL games from 1980-88 with the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
21-year-old rookie Jason Akeson leads the Phantoms in scoring with 26 points on nine goals and 15 assists. Akeson led the Ontario Hockey League in points an assists last year as a member of the Kitchener Rangers with 84 assists and 108 points.
Veteran Denis Hamel is second on the team in points with 24 and leads the team in goals with 11.
The captain of the Phantoms is second-year pro Ben Holmstrom out of Colorado Springs. Holmstrom is tied with Akeson for second on the team in goals with nine. Holmstrom is the youngest captain in Phantoms history at only 24-years-old. The previous youngest Phantoms captain was Boyd Kane who was 25 when he was the team's leading in 2003. Kane is in his second season as captain of the Hershey Bears.
Mike Testwuide is the hottest Phantoms scorer of recent with four goals in his last six games.
34-year-old veteran Denis Hamel played his 1,000th professional game on December 31. The former Buffalo Sabre and Ottawa Senator now has played 809 career AHL games as well as 192 career NHL games and rates 11th all-time in goals scored in the AHL with 326.
Dan Jancevski played in his 800th AHL game on December 31st becoming only the 33rd player in league history to reach that milestone and just the 12th defenseman all-time.
Eric Wellwood is the younger brother of Kyle Wellwood of the Winnipeg Jets (previously with San Jose, Vancouver and Toronto). Blake Kessel is the younger brother of Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (previously with Boston).  Tye McGinn, missing today's game with injury, is the younger brother of Jamie McGinn of the San Jose Sharks.
Oliver Lauridsen from Denmark and Garrett Roe from Vienna, Virginia are a couple of Phantoms rookies who were teammates the past few seasons at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

The Phantoms are 3rd in the conference and 10th in the league in team defense allowing 2.69 goals per game. The Phantoms are 16th in the league (out of 30) in total offense with 2.84 goals per game.
The Phantoms are:
13-1-1 when leading after two periods.
15-5-1 when they score first
9-5-2 in one-goal decisions
5-2 in games decided after regulation. (3-1 in overtime games and 2-1 in shootouts)
The Phantoms are 4-1-2 all-time in games played in front of 18,000 fans or more.
Getting the Call
Ten members of the 2011-12 Phantoms roster have suited up for the Flyers this season.
Current Phantoms players to have appeared with the Philadelphia Flyers this year include Erik Gustafsson, Ben Holmstrom, Kevin Marshall, Tom Sestito, Eric Wellwood.
Phantoms players since the beginning of the season who are currently with the Philadelphia Flyers include: Marc-Andre Bourdon, Brayden Schenn, Zac Rinaldo, Matt Walker, Harry Zolnierczyk.
Phantoms Goaltender Michael Leighton
Michael Leighton has been selected to play at the 2012 All-Star Classic in Atlantic City, NJ on Monday January 30. Leighton will be one of three goalies on the Eastern Conference All-Stars.

This will be Leighton's third appearance in an AHL All-Star Classic having also played in 2008 representing the Albany River Rats on the Canadian AHL All-Stars and in 2002 as a member of the Norfolk Admirals on the Canadian team.

Leighton started in the All-Star Classic in January, 2008 as a member of the Albany River Rats in a contest played in Binghamton. He later won the Aldedge "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the top goaltender in the league that season. Denis Hamel, then of the Binghamton Senators, was the honorary captain for Team Canada in that year's All-Star Classic.

His 2002 appearance at the AHL All-Star Classic was at Mile One Centre in St John's, Newfoundland and Labradour, then the home of the St. John's Maple Leafs.

The 30-year-old from Petrolia, Ontario is in his second season with the Adirondack Phantoms and has gone 11-11-0, 2.44, .920 in 2011-12. Leighton has 35 career shutouts which is sixth most in American Hockey League history and the most of any AHL goalie since 1975. Leighton had five shutouts with the Phantoms last season and has one this year, on October 21 at the Portland Pirates.

Leighton is the Norfolk Admirals all-time franchise leader in career wins (75) and shutouts (18) stemming from his time with the Chicago Blackhawks affiliate from 2001-05. He has also backstopped for the Rochester Americans (2005-06), Portland Pirates (2006-07) and Albany River Rats (2007-08) as well as the Philadelphia and Adirondack Phantoms in an AHL career that has now spanned 307 games.

He has played in 105 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers going 35-44-14, 2.95, .902. In 2010, he helped lead the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in decades during a postseason run that included three shutouts of the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Leighton set an AHL record in one of the most famous games in league history on April 22, 2008. As a goalie for the Albany River Rats, he made a remarkable 98 saves on 101 shots in a five overtime playoff marathon against the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Leighton started for the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Winter Classic on January 1, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston and is scheduled to be the starting goalie for the Adirondack Phantoms in their Outdoor Classic on January 6 at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia thus making him the only goalie to start outdoor games in the NHL and AHL.
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
The Phantoms and Bears are meeting for the second and third times this season. On the strength of a 7-2-1 stretch in their last 10 games, the Bears have made it to the top of the Eastern Conference standings at 19-8-6 for 44 points.

The only time the Phantoms and Bears have hooked up this year it was one of the best games of the season. Harry Zolnierczyk scored with six minutes remaining as the Phantoms pulled out a thrilling 2-1 win on October 29 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Michael Leighton out-dueled Dany Sabourin in the matchup with both goalies making a number of spectacular saves.

Hershey's power play is clicking at an amazing 32% rate to lead the league with 48 goals on 150 opportunities. The next closest team in power play success is Oklahoma City at 22%. The Bears' penalty kill is best in the Eastern Conference and third in the AHL at 85.9%. The Bears offense racks up a league-leading 3.8 goals per game while their defense is 16th allowing 2.9 per contest.

Veteran center Keith Aucoin has been on an amazing and record-setting pace for assists with 46 so far this year. He is on a pace to surpass the AHL's longstanding all-time assist record of 89 set by George "Red" Sullivan with Hershey in 1953-54. Aucoin was the league's most valuable player in 2009-10 when he led the circuit with 106 points including 71 assists and 35 goals. He passed 700 career points in the AHL last season and is rapidly on his way to the 800 point milestone.

Chris Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and older brother of Connecticut Whale Ryan Bourque, leads the Bears with 18 goals. Jasob Mcflicker and Graham Mink have 12 goals each.

Brayden Holtby and Dany Sabourin have split the goaltending duties or Mark French's club. Holtby in 20 games has gone 11-7-3, 2.57, .902. Sabourin is a former Pittsburgh Penguin netminder who served as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup. He has gone 8-4-2, 2.82, .908 in his second season with the Bears.

Three Hershey Bears players have Phantoms ties. Boyd Kane played for the Phantoms from 2003-05 and again from 2006-09. He also played 23 games with the Philadelphia Flyers including 15 games in 2006-07. Kyle Greentree began his professional career with the Phantoms in 2006-07 arriving from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. He stuck with the Phantoms for the 2007-08 season and also played in two games for the Philadelphia Flyers. Ryan Potulny played parts of two seasons for the Phantoms in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The University of Minnesota product won a Calder Cup Championship last year with the Binghamton Senators.
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