(This story has been edited on April 15 to correct Adirondack's home and away record.)
GLENS FALLS -- The Adirondack Phantoms woke up on the morning of the penultimate game of the season needing a miracle to make the playoffs.
Late Saturday afternoon, they learned that no such stroke of good fortune was coming their way.
Several hours before the Phantoms beat Worcester 3-2, Manchester’s victory over Hershey eliminated Adirondack from qualifying for the Calder Cup playoffs.
“It was obviously a tough day and it’s hard to prepare for a game when you know you’re not making playoffs and you get that news right before the game,” goaltender Michael Leighton said. “We just wanted to go and have fun and play for our fans.”
Although this was easily the best of the Phantoms’ seasons in Glens Falls, the team failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.
The Phantoms haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2009 in Philadelphia. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008.
Depending on Sunday’s outcomes, the Phantoms could fall as little as one point short. They had points in seven of their final 10 games as they wrapped up a strong home stretch.
“We worked so hard this year,” Leighton said. “Especially the last month we played really good hockey. To not get there it’s just frustrating and disappointing.”
Through the offseason, the Phantoms will rue several games when they allowed goals either late in the third period or overtime to sacrifice points.
“We look back at those games — woulda, coulda type things — and it’s tough to swallow knowing we were that close,” Leighton said.
Despite the bad news beforehand, a game remained to be played, and the Phantoms put on a good show for the fan appreciation and Hall of Fame night crowd of 4,088 at the Civic Center.
Rookies Jason Akeson and Tye McGinn scored and captain Ben Holmstrom had a goal for the second straight night as the Phantoms built a 3-1 lead.
Leighton made 48 saves as he started his 12th straight game.
The Phantoms have generally played well here all season. They are 22-13-1 at home, a sharp contrast to their 14-21-3 mark on the road.
That’s another thing that will haunt the Phantoms as their summer begins.
“We seem to play good in this building,” Leighton said. “It’s just a fun building to play in and we feed off the crowd.”
Worcester (30-33-4-8) 0 1 1 — 2
Adirondack (37-34-2-2) 1 1 1 — 3
First period — 1, Adirondack, Akeson 13 (Gustafsson, Ford), 15:58 (PP). Penalties — Ford, Adk (cross-checking), 0:20; Acolatse Wor (tripping), 9:37; Moore, Wor (fighting), 11:59; Mathers, Adk (fighting), 11:59; Demelo, Wor (tripping), 14:08.
Second period — 2, Adirondack, McGinn 12 (Brown), 7:57; 3, Worcester, Combs 16 (Lucia, Petrecki), 16:43. Penalties — Ford, Adk (hooking), 1:27; Petrecki, Wor (interference), 4:21; Zolnierczyk, Adk (hooking), 14:19; Leighton, Adk (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:43; Bartulis, Adk (cross-checking), 17:40.
Third period — 4, Adirondack, Holmstrom 14 (Ford, Eddy), 7:57; 5, Worcester, O’Hanley 4 (Lucia), 9:06. Penalties — Acolatse, Wor (misconduct), 10:12; Mathers, Adk (misconduct), 10:12.
Shots on goal — Worcester 16-13-21-50; Adirondack 10-6-9-25.
Power-play opportunities — Worcester 0 / 5; Adirondack 1 / 3.
Goalies — Worcester, Heemskerk 0-1-0 (25 shots-22 saves); Adirondack, Leighton 28-26-1 (50 shots-48 saves).
Referee — Banfield.
A — 4,088.