Phantoms Post 4-2 Win Over Norfolk Admirals
Philly clinches sixth straight AHL attendance title
Sunday, April 6, 2002
By Al Cohen
Greg Koehler scored twice and Neil Little made 17 saves as the Philadelphia Phantoms extended their unbeaten streak to five games with a 4-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in front of a crowd of 14,528 at the First Union Spectrum.
David Harlock and Mark Freer each added two assists for Philadelphia, which is 4-0-1 in its last five games heading into Sunday's regular-season finale in Hershey. The Phantoms have already clinched a playoff berth, but their opponent will not be determined until after tomorrow's play.
Tonight's crowd of 14,528 is Philadelphia's second-largest of the season and pushed the team's final attendance average to 8,450, which bests Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (8,337) for number one in the AHL. The Phantoms have now won the attendance title all six years they have been in the league.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 1-0 lead 4:10 into the game when Mark Greig led a 2-on-1 rush after an Admirals defenseman fell down at his own blue line. With Todd Fedoruk to his left, Greig skated in on net and unleashed a line drive from inside the far circle. Norfolk goaltender Craig Andersson got a piece of it, but not enough as it trickled in for Greig's 22nd goal of the year.
Koehler doubled the lead at the 2:57 mark of the second period with 20 seconds left in a Norfolk power play. Freer set up the play with a pass to Harlock at the far boards. The defenseman offered a quick centering pass to Koehler, who easily placed it by Andersson for his seventh goal as a Phantom and 25th of the year.
"The first thing that comes to mind is the word committed," said Little, who is 2-0-1 in his last three starts. "It was a real good 60-minute game by the guys. A consistent complete game. The guys are clicking."
Norfolk cut the gap to 2-1 during a 4-on-4 situation. Nolan Baumgartner notched his 10th marker on the play when he knocked in a back pass by Jean-Yves Leroux at the 5:42 mark.
But Guillaume Lefebvre extended Philadelphia's cushion back to two goals with 4:44 to go as he came up with a loose puck inside the Admirals zone. The rookie center moved in on Andersson and used a screen by teammate Jarrod Skalde to tally his 19th goal and first since Feb. 20 at Bridgeport.
Koehler's second goal of the game made it a 4-1 game 43 seconds into the final period. On the power play, Freer took a pass from Harlock in the corner and centered it right to Koehler, who tapped it in from just outside the crease. Shawn Thornton's eighth goal capped the scoring for Norfolk with 8:14 remaining.
"We tried to keep things simple and do what is needed - get pucks on net and make things happen," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "Freer, whoever we put with him, they prosper. He checks, he scores and helps out with the power play. We played our most spirited tonight in a long time. Everyone was committed to both sides of the puck."
The Phantoms conclude the season on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. when they travel to take on the Hershey Bears in the last-ever regular-season game at Hersheypark Arena. The game will be televised live on CN8, the Comcast Network.
Phantoms Notes: Philadelphia went 4-5-1 vs. Norfolk this season ... Greig had gone 10 games since his last goal on March 14 at Chicago ... Fedoruk was reassigned earlier in the day from the Flyers. To make room on the roster, left wing Peter Vandermeer was sent to Trenton (ECHL) ... Prior to the game, the Phantoms Wives Charity Foundation presented a check for $82,945 to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which provides educational assistance to financially needy children and spouses of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the Sept. 11 tragedies. The Phantoms Wives conducted four fund-raising events throughout the season...
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