Phantoms Edge Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 5-4
Savage Records Four Assists, Greig Scores Twice in Win
Friday, October 18, 2002
By Al Cohen
Andre Savage tied team records for most assists in a game and period, and Mark Greig scored a pair of goals as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 5-4 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight at the First Union Spectrum. Savage registered three assists, Greig tallied both his goals and Guillaume Lefebvre contributed a goal and two assists during a first period that featured seven total goals. Savage later helped set up John Slaney's game-winning goal in the second period to match the Philadelphia record for most assists in a game (4), established several times.
Phantoms goaltender Antero Niittymaki finished with 25 saves in his North American professional debut, overcoming a rocky start to blank the Penguins over the final 30:33. The 22-year-old native of Finland had played professionally in his home country the past three years after getting drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Draft.
Philadelphia improved to 2-0 on the young season and 6-0-2 in its last eight home games against Wilkes-Barre. The Phantoms are also on a four-game unbeaten streak vs. the Penguins (3-0-1) heading into Saturday's finale of a home-and-home series between the teams.
Lefebvre began the first period scoring frenzy at the 3:14 mark when he followed in a missed shot by Savage. Bruno St. Jacques also assisted on Lefebvre's first tally of the season. But Wilkes-Barre answered 23 seconds later on Tom Kostopolous' second goal of the year, with assists going to Shane Endicott and Konstantin Koltsov.
Philadelphia regained the lead at 5:03 as Lefebvre and Savage found Greig for an easy goal at the doorstep. The Phantoms continued the push and doubled the cushion to 3-1 at the 7:33 mark on the power play. Rookie Patrick Sharp took a feed from St. Jacques on the play and threaded a pass to Slaney, who retrieved it behind the net. Sharp got the puck back in between the circles and wristed a shot past Wilkes-Barre netminder Robbie Tallas for his first goal as a pro.
Penguins right wing Jason MacDonald narrowed the gap to 3-2 with 10:36 to go in the opening period before Greig struck again 51 seconds later. With the play starting in the Phantoms' own end, Savage and Lefebvre found Greig just inside the Wilkes-Barre blue line. The right winger immediately launched a high line drive that made it 4-2 and caused Penguins head coach Glenn Patrick to bring goaltender Sebastien Caron on for Tallas.
Wilkes-Barre's Eric Meloche capped the opening period scoring with 6:43 left to make it 4-3. The seven goals in the period fell one short of a Phantoms record for most goals in a period, set on Oct. 3, 1997 at Syracuse (4-4, 3rd period).
Slaney got into the scoring act 7:08 into the second period on the power play. David Harlock took the initial shot and Mike Siklenka followed with an attempt that hit the post. The puck bounced free for a moment before Slaney pounced on it and poked it past Caron.
Kris Beech completed the scoring with 10:33 to play in the middle period during a 5-on-3 Penguins power play.
Phantoms Notes: Sharp, Niittymaki and Siklenka all made their Phantoms debuts tonight ... Greig recorded his 300th point as a Phantom with his first goal ... Center Eric Betournay was assigned to Trenton (ECHL) this morning.
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