Phantoms Snap Streak in 4-2 Win
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
By David Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer
The Phantoms, winners of one of their last seven games (1-3-3) and winless in their last four games (0-3-1), played with authority at both ends of the ice and the final score was indicative of their effort. In a game where defensemen became a valuable commodity (Brad Tiley and John Slaney were injured and Dan Peters scratched) for the Phantoms, little could go wrong on the ice for the Phantoms. It didn't always look that way for the home town team. Houston's Roman Simicek opened the night's scoring with a nice shot between the five-hole of Phantoms' goalie Maxime Ouellet at 7:17 of the first period. The Phantoms came right back with a power play goal at the 10:07 mark with Vaclav Pletka scoring his 18th goal of the season (and team leading 8th power play goal) with assists from Tomas Divisek and Brad Tiley. The Phantoms came into the night with the AHL's 16th ranked power play (17.4 percent success rate).
Houston went back up on top at 6:42 of the second period with on Curtis Murphy's 11th of the season. The Phantoms' called a timeout at 12:02 in an attempt to re-group which in retrospect appeared to pay off for Philadelphia. Following Tomas Divisek's holding penalty at 13:04 of the 2nd period, Guillaume Lefebvre scored the Phantoms' sixth short handed goal of the season (and his team-leading third) at 14:00 on a nice deke beating Aeros' goalie Derek Gustafson to the stick side. Phantoms defenseman John Slaney would go out shortly thereafter depleting the Phantoms blue line corps significantly. Consecutive goals for the Phantoms in the last 18 seconds of the second period sealed the Aeros' fate. Playing in his third game as a Phantom, Greg Koehler scored at 19:42 with assists from Mark Greig and Bruno St. Jacques. A failed clearing pass along the right boards and strong fore-checking by the Phantoms created the scoring opportunity. A dump in pass from Mark Greig following the face-off surprised Gustafson and hit the net with 8 seconds remaining in the second, giving Philadelphia a 4-2 lead after two periods. "There were times where, right before we called our timeout, it seemed like we didn't have a lot of intensity and they were kind of taking the play to us. I think that timeout helped us and we settled down. We had to get back to the basics and that's what we did; you have to keep it simple in this league and good things happen" said Phantoms' right wing, Kirby Law.
Philadelphia continued its' success while shorthanded; their league leading penalty killing team (87.2 percent) shut out the Aeros (0-7). Philadelphia peppered Derek Gustafson with 41 shots while the Phantoms' Maxime Ouellet stopped 22 of 24 shots in earning his 15th win on the season.
Photos by Pedro Cancel