Phantoms Open Season With 1-0 Win Over Rochester
Greig Scores Game-Winner with 29.8 Seconds Left in OT
Saturday, October 12, 2002
By Al Cohen
Neil Little stopped all 29 shots he faced and Mark Greig scored the lone goal of the game with 29.8 seconds left in overtime as the Philadelphia Phantoms opened the 2002-03 season with a 1-0 victory over the Rochester Americans tonight at the First Union Spectrum.
After 60 minutes of scoreless play, Philadelphia went on the power play midway through the five-minute extra session thanks to a checking call on Denis Hamel. But it was Little who had to come up big during the power play, stopping a breakaway by Peter Ratchuk with 1:20 left and robbing Ratchuk again during a 2-on-1 break 24 seconds later.
The Phantoms went on a two-man advantage with 35.3 seconds to play on Jason Botterill's boarding penalty and immediately capitalized. After winning the face-off, assistant captains John Slaney and David Harlock worked the puck around to captain Greig, who uncorked a line drive from inside the near circle that soared over the right shoulder of Americans goaltender Ryan Miller.
Little made 11 saves in the second period and eight apiece in the first and third to notch his sixth career shutout. The veteran netminder recorded two shutouts last season while finishing second in the AHL in goals-against average (2.02).
Philadelphia's league-leading penalty killing unit from a year ago was tested early and often, but rose to the occasion by killing off all 10 Rochester power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 chance midway through the opening period.
The Phantoms continued their recent success against the Amerks. Last year, Philadelphia won the season series, 4-0-2, before sweeping Rochester in the best-of-three Western Conference Qualifying Round.
Philadelphia also maintained their success in home openers, improving to 5-1-1 all-time. This was the third shutout in a home opener, as the Phantoms skated to a 0-0 tie with Syracuse in 1998-99 and downed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2-0 a year later.
The Phantoms return to action this Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the First Union Spectrum. The game will be televised live on CN8. The teams will then meet again the following night in Wilkes-Barre.
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