Most Spectacular Goal Ever Scored At PPL Center
Photo Credit: Unknown
The 30th installment of what has now become the American Hockey League’s annual All-Star Game will be hosted by the PPL Center in Allentown for the very first time ever at the end of January and, with the thought of the AHL’s best players coming to the Mecca Of Minor League Sports squarely in mind, perhaps it’s high time to talk about the most spectacular goal ever scored at the still relatively new arena that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms refer to as home.
It is the firm opinion of this veteran ice hockey spectator that the single most amazing piece of skill which ever resulted in a puck bulging the back of a net at the corner of 7th & Hamilton Streets actually occurred during the very first American Hockey League contest that was ever played at what was then a brand new PPL Center, this being when the visiting Hershey Bears upended the fledgling Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-1 in a pre-season exhibition game back on October 1st of 2014.
At the time, then 22-year-old Russian winger Stanislav Galiev was still trying to prove that he could hold down a regular job at the American Hockey League level. After all, over the course of his first two seasons as a professional player, the native of Moscow who was the third round pick (# 86 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2010 NHL Draft had skated in more than twice as many ECHL games, playoffs included, for the Reading Royals (70) as compared to AHL games for the Bears (33). Although Galiev had put up good numbers for Reading (33 goals, 73 points) during that period, his production for the Bears (three goals, seven points) had been sparse.
There were less than nine minutes remaining to be played in third period and the score between Hershey and Lehigh Valley in the PPL Center’s inaugural game was still deadlocked at one goal apiece when Galiev, a right-handed shot, burst over the blue line and into the offensive zone along the left wing boards. Aside from the Phantoms’ towering Danish defenseman Oliver Lauridsen (who now skates in Finland for Jokerit Helsinki of the Kontinental Hockey League), the crafty Russian winger could also see that backchecking Lehigh Valley enforcer Derek Mathers would also have to be dealt with. And so the ambitious Galiev simply pulled off a stunning 360-degree spin-o-rama move that would have made former Chicago Black Hawks superstar Denis Savard extremely proud before firing the puck past a completely befuddled Phantoms rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
[editor’s note: had some trouble with the link; apologies if it doesn’t work]
On the heels of the game-winner in pre-season against Lehigh Valley, an emerging Galiev went on to register 25 goals and 45 points in 67 AHL games for the Hershey Bears during the 2014/15 season and also earned his first NHL call-up by the Washington Capitals that term in the process. Washington then rewarded Galiev with a new two-year contract in the summer of 2015 and the Russian winger responded by making the NHL grade coming out of training camp that year. However, Galiev had a hard time getting a regular place in the Capitals line-up and so he was limited to just 24 NHL games but fear of being lost in the waivers process is cited as the reason there was no demotion to Hershey … although Galiev did have a convenient “conditioning assignment” which coincided with a Bears versus Phantoms battle on November 6th – a game that saw the Russian net another goal at the PPL Center in a 4-2 win for the visitors.
Galiev did not survive the Washington Capitals’ cut coming out of training camp this season and then got injured at the beginning of this current 2016/17 campaign. The good news for the 24-year-old winger is that this last year of his current contract with Washington just so happens to be is a one-way deal which pays $ 575,000 this term. The bad news is that Galiev’s current rate of production (six goals and 13 points in 17 AHL games thus far) might not be enough to parlay into a new contract which is also guaranteed later on this summer.
And so it would seem that, with the Hershey Bears scheduled to face off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center this upcoming Friday (January 13th), once again Galiev finds himself a hockey player with something to prove.
Categories: Phantoms Hockey