Unbelievably, it took the Phantoms until Dec. 10 to get their fourth win last season. They got there already Friday night by beating Portland 3-0 on the road.

I'm not sure if that says more about the misery of last season or how well things are going right now. Either way, everyone will take it.

Much of the credit for this one goes to Michael Leighton, who should have changed his number to 35 for the night. Consider this:

-- Leighton made 35 saves to earn to his 35th career AHL shutout in his 35th appearance for the Phantoms. 

-- This was Leighton 33rd start. He has six shutouts. That means Leighton averages a shutout every 5.5 starts.

-- No one has more shutouts than Leighton in the AHL since 1975 and his mark is considered the modern-era record. He's 10 away from the all-time mark set by Johnny Bower of the Cleveland Barons. Bower last played in the AHL in 1958.

A few other notes:

-- Garrett Roe had a goal and assist, giving him six points (1-5) in five games. Nice to see a guy play well on the day you write a column saying http://poststar.com/sports/looking-for-a-diamond-in-the-rough/article_ffba9b90-fba4-11e0-a14e-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">he's going to be important.

-- Eric Wellwood was a surprise scratch. Radio broadcast said he was a little dinged up and Joe Paterson didn't say much else. Wellwood practiced Wednesday and Thursday.

-- The Phantoms again dressed seven defenseman. Rookie defenseman Blake Kessel was the lone healthy scratch.

-- The Phantoms went 2 for 5 on the power play. They have a power play goal in each game and are 9 for 32 (28 percent). Remember that 4 for 60 skid in February last season? Me neither.

-- Zac Rinaldo, who had an assist as he began his quest http://poststar.com/sports/a-reined-in-rinaldo-is-ready-to-start-anew/article_27f0bcec-fba6-11e0-836f-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">to be the total package, played on a line with Harry Zolniercyk, who also scored, and Jason Akeson. Love how that line pits a guy who won the award for most gentlemanly play in the OHL last year between a couple of rabble-rousers.

-- The Phantoms had never beaten Portland in four tires since moving to Glens Falls. This is the first time the teams have met since Portland became affiliated with Florida (CORRECTION: Phoenix) this season. Previously, Portland had the Sabres, who moved to Rochester.

See you all in Albany on Saturday. Devils have lost four of five to start the season and were beaten 4-1 Friday by Hershey after scoring the first goal. They'll be hungry, for sure.

-- Tim

(4) comments

MaineMariner
MaineMariner

Hey Tim,
Portland is affiliated with Phoenix this year. Florida moved their team to San Antonio.

Tim McManus
Tim McManus

@MaineMariner,

Ah, yes. Thank you. Don't know how I got that mixed up.

-- Tim

AHLTraveler
AHLTraveler

We attended the game last night. The Phantoms played a little tentatively through the first period as evidenced by the low shot total. We are only a few games into the new season, but this may be a habit to keep an eye on on road games.

Both goalies mades some astounding saves throughout the game. Jancevski deserves some credit for helping to preserve Leighton's shutout. ML was caught our of position in the second period and Dan did some good work in the crease in keeping a short side stuff out. A very veteran move.

Never tought I would write this, but Rinaldo played an effective game. His speed and hockey sense have increased noticeably since April. I was surprised to see the rough stuff at the end. Pirates' Holliweg is trying to make a name for himself in Portland. I think it's noteworthy that he jumped Holmstrom and not Rinaldo or Sestito. Will have to check the sked to see when the rematch is.

Next stop: Albany, Home of the Devil Rats

leftovers
leftovers

Tim,. maybe your mixup with Florida is a result of the Pirates' coach Kevin Dineen getting the Panthers head coaching job over the season break.

Great to see this team off to a good start. Been watching Leighton for several years now. He is definitely higher than AHL caliber - just can't catch the break.

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