PHILADELPHIA, Pa. Ben Holmstrom tied the score with 20.8 seconds remaining in regulation, and Shane Harper provided overtime heroics by scoring 58 seconds into the extra session, sending the Adirondack Phantoms to a 4-3 win over the HERSHEY BEARS in the 2012 Outdoor Classic on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
A record crowd of 45,653 the largest ever to watch an American Hockey League game were treated to a back-and-forth affair that started with Chris Bourque scoring just 28 seconds into the game. Bourque jumped on the rebound of Keith Aucoin's partially-deflected shot and beat Phantoms goaltender Michael Leighton low along the ice for his team-leading 19th goal of the season. Kyle Greentree earned the secondary assist.
Braden Holtby off of a BEARS stick. Holmstrom was credited with the lone assist.
Holtby turned aside a furious effort from the Phantoms in the second period, stopping all 17 shots he faced. His work allowed the BEARS to regain their lead late in the frame. Cody Eakin led a rush down the left wing and took a shot that was blocked to the side by Leighton. Greentree pounced on the rebound and steered a shot past Leighton's outstretched left pad at 18:37, giving HERSHEY a 2-1 edge heading into the second intermission.
The Phantoms tied the score 2-2 at 7:03 of the third, as Luke Pither redirected a slap-pass from Cullen Eddy past Holtby from the bottom of the left circle.
But the BEARS again took the lead at 12:53, scoring on their fourth power play opportunity. Aucoin and Bourque passed between each other and found Graham Mink at the left faceoff dot for a one-timer that eluded Leighton.
With time winding down, the Phantoms pulled Leighton for an extra attacker and were able to block a BEARS clearing attempt. Jason Akeson's shot from the right point was blocked in front, but Holmstrom found the rebound and hurried a shot past Holtby's glove.
After the BEARS controlled the faceoff to start overtime, Eric Wellwood made a stretch pass from just outside the blue line and found Harper for a partial breakaway. Harper's shot eluded Holtby low, sending the Phantoms to the victory.
Holtby falls to 11-8-1, stopping 40 shots in a strong effort. Leighton improves to 12-11-0 with 24 saves on 27 BEARS shots.
The BEARS ended the night 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
With the overtime loss and a Norfolk overtime loss, the BEARS maintain a tie at the top of the East Division with the Admirals. The BEARS' record is now at 19-8-4-3.