Phantoms Week in Review
Wednesday, December 26, 2001
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
The Phantoms dropped a pair of road games over the weekend for their first losing streak since a three-game skid from Oct. 21-27. On Friday, Providence goaltender Andrew Raycroft shut down Philadelphia with 27 saves in a 2-0 decision. Maxime Ouellet registered 33 saves for the Phantoms, who were blanked for the fourth time this year. The following night in Wilkes-Barre, Martin Sonnenberg's power-play tally, his second of the game, with 50.9 seconds remaining lifted the Penguins to a 3-2 win. Mark Freer and Tomas Divisek each scored for Philadelphia, while Neil Little stopped 33 Wilkes-Barre shots. Philadelphia entered the game with a 5-0-2 record in the season series.
There will be a Kids New Year's Eve Party at Philadelphia's next home game on Friday, Dec. 28. Children can pick up a sample of Sierra Mist in the concourse during the first intermission for a special New Year's countdown and toast right before the second period begins. Fans can hear a Top 10 Countdown of the year-end pop songs, according to Billboard, throughout the game. Be sure to also check out the Cingular Wireless "Find Nokie" contest at the beginning of the first intermission.
*12/26 - DELETE Francis Lessard, recalled by Flyers (NHL)
Jan. 13 Start Time & Venue Changed
Due to a potential Eagles home playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 13, the Phantoms have announced that they are changing the start time of their scheduled game that day against the Norfolk Admirals from 5:05 to 7:05 p.m. The change will better facilitate the flow of traffic coming in and out of the Phantoms game and alleviate parking problems for the patrons. The Phantoms have also moved the game from the First Union Spectrum to the First Union Center.
The Phantoms take a 2-0-2 record against Hershey into the teams' two games this week. Mark Freer netted the game-winner with eight seconds left in overtime and Maxime Ouellet made 39 saves in a 3-2 road win on Nov. 21. Two days later, Hershey scored the final two goals to force a 4-4 tie, including a penalty shot by Jordan Krestanovich with 1:53 left in the third period. The following night, Mike Lephart scored twice and John Slaney notched two assists in a 4-1 win in Hershey. Kirby Law and Mike Watt each scored in a 2-2 tie on Dec. 15 in Hershey. The Phantoms have three wins and two ties in their last five visits to Hershey, and own a 31-22-7-2 record in the all-time series. The teams play a total of 12 times this year.
Philadelphia is 2-0-1 vs. the Rochester Americans heading into their fourth encounter of the year on Sunday. In the Phantoms' first road game of the season back on Oct. 8, Vaclav Pletka scored twice, including the game-winner 4:15 into the third period of a 3-2 Philadelphia victory. On Nov. 10 in Rochester, Pletka scored twice more, John Slaney had a goal and an assist, and Mark Greig dished out two assists in a 3-3 tie. Neil Little finished with 29 saves. The Phantoms rallied from a two-goal deficit on Nov. 16 as Dan Peters' goal evened the score with 3:04 left in the third period and Slaney scored 48 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 home win over the Amerks. Rochester won the season series, 4-1-1-0, in 2000-01, but the Phantoms exacted some revenge in the best-of-five Mid-Atlantic Division Semifinals by ousting the Americans in four games. The Americans lead the all-time series, 15-11-3-0, including an 8-5-2 mark at the Blue Cross Arena. The teams play a total of six times this season, with the next match-up taking place on Saturday, Jan. 5 in Philadelphia.
Lessard Called Up By Flyers
Defenseman Francis Lessard was recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday morning. Lessard, who compiled five assists and 124 penalty minutes in 31 games as a Phantom, is still waiting to make his NHL debut, as he did not get to dress during a four-day stint with the Flyers in November.
Penalty Minute Extremes
The Phantoms established season lows and season highs for team and combined penalty minutes in a game on consecutive nights this weekend. On Friday in Providence, the Bruins and Phantoms each collected just seven penalty minutes. Philadelphia's seven PIM broke the previous mark of eight set vs. Quebec on Oct. 26 and the 14 combined minutes were 10 fewer than the total established on Dec. 1 at Wilkes-Barre. Saturday's game in Wilkes-Barre featured a combined 141 penalty minutes, topping the old mark of 132 set on Oct. 7, also against the Penguins. Philadelphia's 76 penalty minutes snapped the mark of 62 accumulated on Oct. 19 vs. Cincinnati.
Philadelphia has played 13 overtime games already this season. The overtime total after 33 games exceeds the season-long totals for both 1998-99 (12) and 1999-2000 (8) and is six shy of the club record of 19 set in 1997-98. The league record is 24 by Portland (1996-97), Hamilton (1997-98) and St. John's (1997-98). Eight Phantoms games have resulted in ties this year, which is two off of the franchise record of 10 established in both 1996-97 & 1997-98. The AHL record for ties in a season is 18, set by St. John's in 1997-98.
Slaney Named Captain of Canadian AHL All-Star Team
Defenseman John Slaney was selected on Dec. 13 as the captain for the Canadian team at the 2002 Assante & Baker Hughes AHL All-Star Classic, to be held Feb. 13-14 at Mile One Stadium in St. John's, Newfoundland. Milwaukee Admirals defenseman Rich Brennan was named captain of the PlanetUSA squad. Captains were chosen in recognition of outstanding service and leadership to the AHL. Slaney was presented with his 2002 All-Star jersey by AHL President & CEO Dave Andrews during a special ceremony prior to the Dec. 14 game vs. the St. John's Maple Leafs. Slaney will be playing in his third straight All-Star Game.
All-Star Balloting Ends on Jan 2.
Fan balloting for the 2002 Assante & Baker Hughes AHL All-Star Classic will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 2. By completing the official ballot on the official web site of the AHL, www.theahl.com, fans will be entered to win various prizes, including an autographed game-worn jersey from the All-Star Classic, autographed commemorative magazines from the event and official All-Star Classic T-shirts. The players receiving the most votes by position will earn berths in the starting lineups of both the Canadian and PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Teams. A committee of AHL coaches will select the remaining All-Stars, with all 27 clubs being represented.
Phantoms Among The League Leaders
*Goaltender Neil Little leads the league in goals-against average (1.47) and save percentage (.946).
*Right wing Mark Greig is sixth with 37 points (12g,25a), tied for sixth with 25 assists and second in minor penalties (31).
*Defenseman John Slaney is tied for seventh with 36 points (12g,24a), tied for first in game-winning goals (5) and tied for fifth in plus/minus (+16). He also ranks first among AHL defensemen in points and
*Right wing Jesse Boulerice is tied for first in major penalties (16).
*Philadelphia leads the league in penalty killing (.879 percent) and is second in goals allowed per game (2.39).
*Goaltender Neil Little had his six-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Saturday in Wilkes-Barre. He had three wins and three ties since a 1-0 overtime loss in Houston on Nov. 4.
*Little surpassed 20,000 minutes played in his professional career on Saturday.
*Defenseman Dan Peters played in his 100th game as a professional on Saturday.
This year, the Phantoms have instituted a Designated Driver program at their games. It occurs during each weekday game. All fans are encouraged to sign up and agree not to drink alcoholic beverages during the duration of the night, and provide safe transportation for the other members of their group. Every designated driver receives free O'Doul's non-alcoholic brew in Bullies, two free tickets to a future Phantoms game and has his/her name placed in a raffle to win a Phantoms windshirt ($75 value). One windshirt is awarded at every Wednesday and Friday night game.
Tickets to all Phantoms home games are $12, $16 and $17 for adults, and $8 for all children 14 and under, and are available now at the First Union Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations throughout the Delaware Valley. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling (215) 336-2000 or (856) 338-9000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Contact the Phantoms office at 215-465-4522 for information on group discounts, birthday packages and the Family Four Pack.
The Philadelphia Phantoms are on the World Wide Web at www.phantomshockey.com. The site is the best way for fans to stay updated with the latest news about the Phantoms, including timely scoring updates, statistics, news releases, player biographies and more.
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