Phantoms Drop 4-1 Decision at Wilkes-Barre
Brunel Scores Lone Goal for Philly
Saturday, October 19, 2002
By Al Cohen
The Philadelphia Phantoms lost their first game of the season tonight as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored four unanswered goals in a 4-1 decision at the First Union Arena at Casey Plaza. Philadelphia had won its first two games of the 2002-03 season, including Friday's 5-4 triumph over the Penguins at the First Union Spectrum. The loss was just the fourth in 17 all-time matches in Wilkes-Barre and ended a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) vs. the Penguins. Neil Little, who shut out Rochester in his first start of the season a week ago, made 20 saves for Philadelphia. His counterpart Sebastien Caron stopped 28 shots to notch his AHL-leading third victory of the year.
Wilkes-Barre's first shot of the third period didn't come until the 5:26 mark, but it wound up being the game-winner. Eric Meloche did most of the work on the play, circling all the way behind the net before finding Milan Kraft in front for his first goal of the season that made it 2-1.
Tom Kostopoulos doubled the Wilkes-Barre lead with 7:02 remaining when he deflected in a shot by Toby Peterson. The power-play goal was Kostopoulos' third of the year. Kris Beech added another power-play marker with 58 seconds left for the final margin.
The Phantoms drew first blood 3:29 into the game on a pretty give-and-go between Craig Brunel and Mike Siklenka. After receiving a pass from Ian MacNeil, Brunel streaked down the far side and offered a centering pass to Siklenka. The 6-5 right wing faked a shot and sent it back to Brunel, who beat an out of position Caron for his first goal of the season.
Wilkes-Barre evened the score with 10:59 to go in the opening period on Matt Hussey's first career goal. Kostopoulos set up the play with a square pass to Hussey, who uncorked a line drive into the top right corner of the net from just outside the far circle.
Philadelphia had several good scoring chances over the first two periods. Andre Savage nearly tallied a goal late in the first period when he recovered a loose puck with Caron out of his net, but the netminder was able to make a diving save just as he re-entered the crease.
In the second period, rookie Patrick Sharp chest-trapped a puck right in front of the Penguins net and volleyed a shot on goal, but Caron was there to make the save. Later on in the period, MacNeil got a couple of shots off from the near side of the goal and Siklenka followed with a shot off the post from the other side.
The Phantoms are back in action on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7:05 p.m., when they host the Norfolk Admirals at the First Union Spectrum. Philadelphia then travels to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday night before returning home to entertain the Cleveland Barons on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 5:05 p.m.
Phantoms Notes: Siklenka played in his 200th career game as a pro ... Rookie center Jack Baker suffered a minor injury to his collarbone in the first period and did not return ... The Phantoms and Penguins will meet eight more times this season, with the next match-up set for Nov. 6 in Philadelphia ... The Phantoms are now 4-3 in road openers.
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