Phantoms Week in Review
Monday, December 31, 2001
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent
The Phantoms recorded two wins and an overtime loss last week to maintain the AHL lead in points (47). On Wednesday in Hershey, Matt Herr's goal 38 seconds into overtime was the difference in a 3-2 Bears win over the Phantoms. Tomas Divisek and John Slaney each scored for Philadelphia, Pavel Brendl had two assists and Neil Little made 31 saves. In the rematch two days later, Maxime Ouellet totaled 41 saves in a 3-1 Phantoms victory before an AHL season-high 14,202 fans at the First Union Spectrum. Divisek notched a goal and an assist, while Mike Watt and Brendl also scored. On Sunday in Rochester, Ouellet came up big again with 34 saves as the Phantoms posted a 2-1 win over the Americans. Mark Greig registered a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which did allow Rochester to score until the 19:33 mark of the final period.
The first 5,000 kids in attendance on Friday, Jan. 4 will receive a Maxime Ouellet growth poster, courtesy of the Dairy Farmers of the Mid-Atlantic. The Cingular Wireless "Find Nokie" contest will also take place during the first intermission. On Jan. 5, the Please Touch Museum will have three interactive tables on the concourse and will be giving away prizes throughout the game. The Chick-Fil-A Cows on Ice contest will take place during the first intermission and all the prelim games will feature women's teams as part of Women in Hockey Night.
Philadelphia takes a 5-1-2 record vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins into tonight's match-up. Mark Greig finished with four points (1G, 3A) and the Phantoms had a season high for goals in a 7-1 home victory on Oct. 7. Greig added two goals and Mike Lephart netted the game-winner in a 5-3 road triumph on Oct. 20 before Greig and Mark Freer each scored in a 2-1 home win on Nov. 18. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie on Nov. 27 and John Slaney's third-period goal was the difference in a 4-3 Phantoms win four days later. Guillaume Lefebvre netted Philadelphia's lone goal in a 1-1 tie on Dec. 12 and Neil Little stopped 27 shots to post a 3-0 shutout on Dec. 16. Wilkes-Barre finally got in the win column on Dec. 22 when Martin Sonnenberg's power-play tally, his second of the game, with 50.9 seconds remaining lifted the Penguins to a 3-2 victory. The Phantoms are 18-8-2-0 in the all-time series, including an 11-2-1-0 mark in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, the two most penalized teams in the AHL, play a total of 12 times this season.
The Hartford Wolf Pack come to town on Friday for the first of two meetings with the Phantoms in 2001-02. The other is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18 in Hartford. The Wolf Pack swept last year's series with a pair of 5-4 wins during a three-day span in early April. Burke Henry's goal with 10.9 seconds to play in overtime was the difference in the first match-up in Philadelphia. Brad Smyth scored two of Hartford's three third-period goals in the rematch as the Wolf Pack rallied to win at home. The all-time series is even at 6-6-1-1, but Philadelphia is just 2-5-0-0 when playing the Wolf Pack at home.
Philadelphia is 3-0-1 vs. the Rochester Americans heading into their fifth encounter of the year on Saturday. 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. Maxime Ouellet made 34 saves and did not allow a Rochester goal until the 19:33 mark of the third period in a 2-1 Phantoms win on Dec. 30. 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, 15-12-3-0, but Philadelphia is just 6-7-1-1 at home. The teams conclude their season series on Feb. 3 in Philadelphia.
AHL SEASON-HIGH 14,202 FANS ATTEND FRIDAY'S GAME
Philadelphia drew an AHL season-high 14,202 fans for their game on Friday, Dec. 28 vs. Hershey at the First Union Spectrum. The Phantoms obliged with an impressive 3-1 victory over the arch-rival Bears. The crowd tops Chicago's previous league season high of 14,109 set on Nov. 17 vs. Providence. Philadelphia's best attendance figure this year had been 11,018 vs. Rochester on Nov. 16.
OUELLET HAS GOOD WEEKEND
Goaltender Maxime Ouellet snapped a personal three-game losing streak with a pair of impressive performances this weekend. Ouellet stopped 75-of-77 shots (.974 save percentage) to earn two wins, while taking a shutout deep into the third period of each. On Friday vs. Hershey, Ouellet made 41 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Bears. The save total matched his career high (set Oct. 20, 2000 at Providence) and equaled the team season high (Dan Murphy, Dec. 1 at Wilkes-Barre). Two days later, Ouellet stopped 34-of-35 shots to help Philadelphia post a 2-1 win at Rochester. The Americans' lone goal came with 27 seconds remaining with a sixth-attacker. Ouellet had surrendered his only goal on Friday with 4:32 to play.
Philadelphia has played 14 overtime games already this season. The overtime total after 36 games exceeds the season-long totals for both 1998-99 (12) and 1999-2000 (8) and is five 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.
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.
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 (1.57) and save percentage (.944).
- Right wing Mark Greig is tied for sixth with 39 points
(13g,26a), tied for sixth with 26 assists and tied for third in minor penalties (32).
- Defenseman John Slaney is tied for eighth with 38 points (13g,25a) and tied for first in game-winning goals (5). He also ranks first among AHL defensemen in points and goals.
- Right wing Jesse Boulerice is tied for second in major penalties (16).
- Right wing Peter Vandermeer is tied for second in major penalties (16) and fifth in penalty minutes (170).
- Philadelphia leads the league in penalty killing (.889 percent) and goals allowed per game (2.33).
- Right wing Mark Greig played in his 500th career AHL game on Dec. 26 in Hershey.
- Right wing Jesse Boulerice was suspended for Philadelphia's game on Dec. 26 due to his actions in a game at Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 22.
- Philadelphia's loss in Hershey on Dec. 26 was its first since Dec. 30, 2000. The Phantoms were 3-0-2 in their last five trips to chocolate land.
- Defenseman Ian Forbes made his AHL debut on Dec. 28 vs. Hershey.
- Center Tomas Divisek notched his 100th point as a professional on Dec. 28 vs. Hershey.
- Right wing Vaclav Pletka played in his 100th professional game on Dec. 30 at Rochester.
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.
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