PHILADELPHIA, Pa. … A four-goal outburst in the second period was more than enough as the Philadelphia Phantoms captured the American Hockey League’s 2005 Calder Cup championship with a 5-2 win over the Chicago Wolves on Friday night.
The Phantoms defeated the Wolves four games to none to win their second AHL title, and first since 1998.
Attendance at the Wachovia Center for Game 4 was 20,103, the second-largest crowd ever in the 69-year history of the American Hockey League, and the largest for a Calder Cup Playoff game. Average attendance for the series was 12,205, a Calder Cup Finals record.
Jon Sim scored twice and Patrick Sharp and Ben Stafford added single tallies as the Phantoms registered four goals on 20 shots in the second period. Sharp, who helped the Philadelphia Flyers to within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, would add an empty-net shorthanded marker in the third period to cap a three-point night.
Antero Niittymaki made 28 saves in Game 4, finishing the postseason with a record of 15-5, a 1.75 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. Niittymaki stopped 132 of Chicago’s 136 shots on goal during the Finals (0.91, .971), and earned the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rookie Jeff Carter, who joined the Phantoms in April ater completing his junior career at Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), led the AHL with 12 goals and 23 points in 21 postseason games.
Philadelphia’s John Stevens, a defenseman on the Phantoms’ first championship team in 1998, became the 13th person in AHL history to win a Calder Cup as both a player and a head coach.
The Phantoms’ Cup-clinching victory, which came seven years to the day after the franchise’s first championship, also established a new AHL record for consecutive home wins in a single postseason. Philadelphia was 11-0 on home ice during the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.