Michael Ryan scored with 1:30 left in regulation breaking a 2-2 tie and the Adirondack Phantoms went on to defeat the top in the AHL, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-2 Friday night in front of a jam-packed crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 18,056 crammed into the home of the Flyers for the 10th largest regular season crowd in AHL history. Six of the top ten regular season crowds in AHL history have all come in the regular season home of the Philadelphia Flyers.
FLYERS TV: Leighton
Michael Leighton thrived on the big stage in his first meaningful game in the Wells Fargo Center since backstopping the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. He made 38 saves on 40 shots including saves on all 17 Penguins shots in the 3rd period. He kicked out his left leg for several show-stoppers that delighted the large turnout and reminded many of his amazing play through much of the most recent NHL post-season.
|Erik Gustafsson has two assists and was a plus-3 in the Phantoms 4-2 win over the baby Pens. |
also had a fine game for the Phantoms including the team's first goal in the opening period and a nice assist on a Greg Moore shorthanded goal in the second.
Geoff Walker started the scoring for the Pens picking off a puck at center and racing up the right wing appearing to blast one in short-side on Leighton.
The Phantoms got it back a couple minute later as Mike Testwuide
drove to the slot and fired a shot off Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie John Curry whose rebound was gobbled up and deposited home by Wellwood in the right-wing circle. It was Wellwood's 9th of the year and first since December 29th and tied the game at 1-1.
Shots on goal in the opening period was only 5-3.
The Penguins opened things up some in the second and got more pucks to Leighton but the Phantoms would strike first and take their first lead of the night. Eric Wellwood
raced up the right-wing on a short-handed rush and hesitated before firing the biscuit across to Greg Moore on top of the left-wing circle for a big one-timer top-shelf for his 8th goal of the year. The tally 4:04 into the 2nd gave the Phantoms a 2-1 lead.
The Penguins got it back later in the 2nd as Kevin Veilleux was left open in the high slot to blaze a shot past Leighton's blocker.
The 2-2 deadlock would remain through most of the third as the Penguins blasted away on Leighton time-and-time again. Nick Johnson had several great opportunities but he was denied by the Flyers' Stanley Cup goaltender every time.
Finally, the Phantoms would surge back to the Penguins end and get some pressure thanks to Stefan Legein
's play-making. His wrap-around try had Curry off-balance and the long rebound went all the way out to Erik Gustafsson at the point who blasted a low slapper that Michael Ryan was able to re-direct for the game-winner.
It was another dramatic goal for Ryan who tied the score in Abbotsford on January 7th with 23 seconds left and also tied the game at Rochester with 7:45 left. This time Ryan netted the game-winner as Gustafsson picked up his team leading 24th assist and 28th point.
The Phantoms were outshot in the game 40-15 for their lowest shots on goal total of the season and also, by far, their greatest shots on goal disparity of the year.
It was Adirondack's first win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
The Phantoms have won two straight and look to make it three in a row Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center against the North Division front-running Hamilton Bulldogs, the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
Notes: Scratches for the game included Marc-Andre Bourdon, J.P. Testwuide and Zac Rinaldo
. Rinaldo was serving the first of his recent two game suspension which stemmed from his hit on Keith Aucoin of Hershey last Friday.