RACHEL VASS, 21, was hit with a wave of nausea and what she thought was the start of a heart attack when the Flyers'overtime "goal" was overturned by the referees.
Her despair turned to joy moments later when the Flyers scored again - this time, there was no question - and pulled out a thrilling 4-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night.
"Now that felt good!" screamed Vass, of Haverford, as thousands of other Flyers fans erupted in cheers at the raucous Wachovia Center.
Except for the unnerving uncertainty of overtime, there was nothing but good vibes and good cheer as the Flyers faithful cheered on their embattled team.
The Flyers now trail 2-1, in the best-of-seven series.
Highs and lows: When the Flyers scored the OT "goal" Frank Fasulo, 49, a Flyers fan from Apache Junction, Ariz., said he "couldn't have been any higher."
Then, when it was deemed a figment of Flyers fans' imaginations, Fasulo, just back from serving in the Navy in Afghanistan, "couldn't get any lower."
"Then, when they scored that goal for real - I think I peed a little," he said after the game, as he walked around the Wachovia Center proposing marriage to strangers, an orange wig on his head.
Tailgating adoption: Self-proclaimed first tailgaters, Dave Williams and Kath Hracho, who arrived at the Wachovia Center at 1 p.m., had adopted Tim Dort and his son, Flyers fans from Alberta, Canada, by midafternoon.
"These guys came walking across the parking lot and asked, 'Are your beers cold?' " said Hracho, 37, of Bryn Mawr. "The rest is history."
Dort, 45, claimed that he was being extorted for $500 a beer but said it was worth it because, although he's been a Flyers fan since 1973, last night was his first home game.
Williams, 37, of Exton, told him to prepare for the emotional impact of the Kate Smith/Lauren Hart "God Bless America" duet. Dort said he gets goose bumps while watching it on TV.
"Tonight - they'll be mountains," Williams said.
Fly ride: Jim C. Dooney, 22, and his father, Jim T. Dooney, 48, both of Bryn Mawr, partied out of the back of the younger Jim's van, which was covered from headlight to taillight in permanent Flyers decals, Flyers window mesh and an orange underglow.
Jim C. said that he got the decal job done with $1,000 in change he'd saved throughout high school and college and that he did it "the year after we really sucked."
"Everybody made fun of me then," he said. "Now I'm making fun of them."
Last night, the younger Jim said that he was looking forward to eating some Blackhawk wings.
"I should have brought barbecue sauce," he said.
The Green Man goes orange: The Green Man, who appears at sports events throughout the city, is not the only spandexed game in town anymore.
Last night, "The Orange Man," clad head-to-toe in orange spandex and an orange wig, showed up at the Flyers game.