Record Attendance on Fond Farewell Night
It was a night for fond farewells, sweet goodbyes, and a last ever look at a team the local community has fallen in love with over the past five years. The Adirondack Phantoms played their last ever game at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday night in front of a record-setting sellout crowd of 5,586. Bridgeport pulled out the victory in overtime in the finale by a 3-2 score on a game-winner by Johan Sundstrom. But the huge and noisy contingent of fans inside the Glens Falls Civic Center still were able to take full advantage of their last ever opportunity to go crazy for the Phantoms.
One last chance for the fans to cheer for some of their favorite players. One last chance for the players and staff and ownership to thank the community and passionate fan-base for serving as such wonderful hosts of the team for five great seasons. And one final chance for a huge and noisy crowd to give a proper sendoff on such a bittersweet night.
A rousing ovation to the team's long stick-raise and acknowledgement at center-ice would close out the team's era in Glens Falls hopefully setting the table for a new team to potentially come the following year in the Phantoms' footsteps and continue the great hockey tradition of the North Country.
Long-time Voice of the Glens Falls Civic Center Dan Miner was given the pleasure to announce to tonight's gathering that they were officially the largest crowd in Adirondack Phantoms' history at 5,586 shattering the previous record by 175. The former attendance mark of 5,411 fans was for the return of the AHL to Glens Falls in the team's first-ever game on October 3, 2009. It took five full seasons before the Adirondack Phantoms would be able to break that Glens Falls Civic Center mark but on the very last day, they did it!
The big night represented the 13th sellout all-time for the Adirondack Phantoms and the fourth of the season. It was the sixth time ever for the team to crack the 5,000 mark. Fans were standing all along and behind the top row getting their last glimpse of the team with the announced attendance passing the seating capacity of the building (4,794) by almost 800. That's a lot of standing-room only tickets that were sold! And it resulted in an amazing and occasionally spine-tingling atmosphere.
"It's unbelievable, it's great. It's a great feeling tonight," said Phantoms president Rob Brooks. "It's a celebration and we thank everyone in the Adirondack region."
The Phantoms moved to Adirondack from Philadelphia for the 2009-10 season, and could not have picked to a better place to play hockey. Glens Falls has celebrated 25 seasons of hosting AHL hockey, becoming just the tenth active market to accomplish that feat. For 20 years, from 1979 to 1999, the Adirondack Red Wings played in front of the die-hard hockey fans in the North Country.
"What a history this place has," Brooks said. "And we are lucky enough to have this as part of our Phantoms history, and it will live on. It's a great hockey market."
"It's been a tremendous five years," said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. "The fans have been wonderful here, [and] there has been an incredible support for us this year in this city."
"They took us in five years ago and supported us," Brooks added. "We really appreciate it. You welcomed us with open arms."
The five years the Phantoms spent in Glens Falls not only gave the fans a chance to see the hockey this city so desires, it also gave Glens Falls a chance to get back on the map as a true hockey city, and they did just that. That will prove to be of immeasurable importance as the city looks to keep AHL hockey at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
It would be a wonderful celebration for all of Glens Falls as well as all of the Phantoms if the hard work and energies put forth over the past five years ultimately result in a new team taking over AND the Phantoms receiving the opportunity to return to the Civic Center as the VISITING team!
"You want a community that really buys into their hockey and this community does that," said Phantoms executive vice president Chris Porreca. "It's been a mutual understanding of how exciting this can be. My fingers are crossed for another team to come here. I want to come back and be booed in this building. That would be great because it would mean this building is supporting another team."
Friday's game itself was a treat as well, as the fans were able to watch a hard-fought battle for almost 65 minutes of play.
Brandon Alderson and Derek Whitmore both scored for the Phantoms, and goaltender Tony Capobianco made 29 saves on 32 shots in his Glens Falls debut, including some incredible sprawling saves through the first two periods.
The Phantoms started their finale in a fitting way, jumping on top early and getting the crowd into the game. Just 4:26 into the first, Brandon Alderson collected a rebound from a Derek Whitmore shot, and slammed it home for his 14th goal of the season.
Whitmore later extended that lead to 2-0 in the second period on a goal from in tight, assisted by Mark Alt and Nick Cousins.
They also put on a show with the fists for the sellout crowd. Both Zack FitzGerald and Oliver Lauridsen dropped the mitts in the first, and that was just part of an overall physical game that featured several hard hits and tussles after the whistle.
Friday also marked the professional debut for Flyers' prospect Shayne Gostisbehere. Gostisbehere, who was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Flyers, was signed by the Flyers to an entry level contract on April 15, fresh off his win with Union College in the Frozen Four Tournament at the Wells Fargo Center. Gostisbehere fit right in. He pushed hard all game, playing with a physical edge, and he was not scared to rip shots on net. He finished with three shots in the game, and an even rating in what was a solid debut from the young defenseman.
Gostisbehere's entire team from Union College trekked up from Schenectady to enjoy the night as well. And the national champions were announced and acknowledged in the third period. The group of Gostisbehere rooters screamed from Section G on some of the "Ghost's" first ever pro plays in the first period making it previous obvious to 5,500 others in the building whom they were there to see.
Bridgeport's goals came from Scooter Vaughan, Mike Halmo and Johan Sundstrom, who netted the overtime winner for the Sound Tigers.
Friday marked the final Phantoms game at the Glens Falls Civic Center but there is still one more to go for the team on the road. The Phantoms will wrap up their season Saturday night in Hershey with a 7:00 game against the Bears.
Thanks once again to all the fans for the amazing support over five tremendous seasons in Glens Falls. The passion you have shown for your hockey team has been a treat and has made a huge impression on the entire American Hockey League.
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