Flyers-Lightning game briefly delayed after in-arena power outage due to transformer malfunction

PHILADELPHIA — It was less than six minutes into the first period of the Flyers-Lightning game at Wells Fargo Center when things got weird. Most of the in-arena lighting, the giant video board and the sound system shut off as the Flyers controlled the puck in their offensive end due to a transformer malfunction.

The referees blew the play dead to chat things over with the Flyers up 1-0 on a goal by Bobby Brink. It was determined after a conversation with both head coaches and goaltenders that the playing surface was well-lit enough to resume play, while the only sound came from the 18,647 fans in attendance.

“(The officials) asked me if you want to play. I did,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “And (Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper) did. We both decided, let’s ask the goalies. We’re up 1-0 at that time. I don’t think (Flyers goalie Samuel Ersson) was too crazy (about it). I really don’t give a s— what Ers was, we’re up 1-0.”

The Flyers went on to a 6-2 win.

At the first intermission, Wells Fargo Center president Phil Laws explained what happened.

“During the first period, we had a transformer on the event level that burned up. Don’t know why,” Laws said. “External, something inside the building. Electrical crews have removed that from the system that allows us to turn the power on that we lost briefly and right now going around restoring the systems, starting with the game critical ones.”

Laws explained that while the HVAC system also went down, the ice was not affected.

“We have three chillers. We like to run two at a time. Right now we’re running on one, which we do believe will get us through the night,” he said.

Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim, though, felt a change at ice level, both in the atmosphere and other conditions. He compared it with the recent Flyers-Devils game at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night, Feb. 17.

“It felt like the outdoor game with the darkness around us,” Sanheim said. “Started to get really hot and ice started to get terrible there as it got warmer.”

Tyson Foerster, who put the Flyers ahead to stay in the third period when he broke a 1-1 tie, said: “It was super dead in there, we felt like on the bench. The fans were great, but no music or anything. It was kinda weird.”

The ice surface was back to being fully lit by the start of the second period, but it took half of the period for the sound system to return, which it did with The Rolling Stones’ classic hit “Start Me Up” followed by a brief apology from public address announcer Lou Nolan.

The video board remained fully dark for the duration of the game, while only one of the two LED rings around the bowl was functional until the third period, when the other came back to life.

“I think we shook it off pretty well,” said defenseman Sean Walker. “Definitely kind of weird. That’s the first time it’s ever happened for me, and I’m sure most guys. Unique, but I think it ended up working in our favor.”

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(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

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