Soo Greyhound centre Jeff Carter wasted no time in helping secure the first championship trophy of his professional hockey career. Carter led the Philadelphia Phantoms to the AHL Calder Cup Championship with the 4 games to zero sweep of the Chicago Wolves in the AHL Championship.
Carter led the entire AHL in play-off scoring with 12 goals and 11 assists in 23 games. Carter's achievements are particularly impressive because he only joined the Phantoms at the conclusion of the Greyhounds season at the beginning of April, and had relatively no time to get familiar with the Phantoms players and systems prior to the play-offs.
For the Phantoms, the 2005 Calder Cup Championship was their second AHL title in seven years and fills a void in the hearts of Philadelphia sports fans who gave gone years without having any of their professional sports teams win a title.
On Friday, a sold out crowd of 20, 312 crammed the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia to the see the Phantoms defeat the Wolves 5 -2 in game four. The teams play-off run has been dubbed the “Purple Reign” in Philadelphia, and fan interest in the team soared to historic levels, culminating with the Phantoms hoisting the Calder Cup on Friday night.
The excitment and record attendance numbers during the series shows that there may very well be a glimmer of light shining through in this, the darkest of times for the sport of hockey. Led by a plethora of young talents such as Carter, Michael Richards, Joni Pitkonen, and play-off MVP Anterro Nittymaki, tha Phatoms gave hockey fans a taste of things to come, and finally something to look forward to once the NHL lockout ends. For the Flyers, who already boast one of the best line-ups in the game, the performances of their prospects will make them want to end this lockout non-sense in a hurry and get these young gentlemen into the black and orange as soon as possible.
The biggest benefenfactor of susperstar performances by young players such as Carter, is the sport of hockey, which showed that though it may only be functioning at a minor league level it still has a major league place in the hearts of fans throughout North America