Phantoms Awaken, Rout Penguins, 7-2
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
By Mike Williams
PHILADELPHIA - The Phantoms were like that groggy, sluggish kid with the dazed look from high school in the first few minutes of Wednesday morning's game.
The remainder of the game for the hosts was much different, however. The Phantoms played the role of the bright-eyed and eager honors student perfectly.
The result was a 7-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on School Day at the First Union Spectrum. Mark Greig’s power play goal late in the second period helped the Phantoms to a 3-1 lead, and they never looked back.
Wednesday’s victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Phantoms, whose seven goals were a high in one game this season.
Andre Savage’s two goals and a pair of assists led the Phantoms. Mark Greig added a goal and a couple of assists, while rookie netminder Antero Niittymaki made 23 saves in net.
Playing a complete game has been a problem for the Phantoms through the season’s first 10 games. Despite the bumpy start, the Phantoms recovered and did not let up, despite a big lead.
“It’s a huge win for us. We’ve only played two or three complete games all season,” Greig said.
Moreover, the Philadelphia power play is beginning to awaken, scoring twice in eight opportunities against the Penguins.
“They were huge today,” head coach John Stevens said of his club on special teams.
Savage opened the scoring with 2:17 to play in the first period. Savage took a Greig pass on his off wing and one-timed it past Sebastien Caron from the left circle.
The goal allowed Savage to hit the 100-goal and 200-point marks as a pro.
“It’s nice. It’s a good feeling to get that,” Savage said of his milestones.
Two Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minors and a Mark Greig hooking penalty resulted in a four-on-three Philadelphia power play late in the period. With just six seconds remaining in the period, Mike Siklenka put a rebound from a David Harlock shot under Caron for 2-0 game.
Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in 199, Konstantin Koltsov, cut the Philadelphia lead in half at 15:56, taking a cross-ice pass from Eric Meloche and slipping it inside the left post past Niittymaki.
The Penguins cost themselves a goal shortly thereafter.
After a Tom Kostopoulos minor, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench protested referee Scott Hoberg’s non-call on a play in the Penguins’ defensive zone. Hoberg assessed a bench minor that put the Phantoms on a five-on-three advantage.
Greig restored Philadelphia’s two-goal lead whistled a shot from the top of the left circle through Caron’s pads 10 seconds after the bench minor.
The final period saw the Phantoms tack on four more goals.
Savage’s second goal of the game 22 seconds into the third put the Phantoms up by three. Greig’s rebound found its way to Savage, who knocked it into the Penguin net.
Four minutes late, a giveaway in the Wilkes-Barre zone helped the Phantoms break open the game. Law picked off a cross-ice pass and sent it toward Caron. The puck bounced to Patrick Sharp, and the rookie from the University of Vermont flicked it into the net.
It became a 6-1 game when Ben Stafford scored 40 seconds later.
Michal Sivek’s goal made it a 6-2 game, but Law followed it up with a goal shortly thereafter to cap the scoring.
Asked if the game was his club’s best of the season, Law agreed.
“Right from the start, we played our system [perfectly],” Law said.
***SOUTH JERSEY SPORTS INSIDE THE GAME ***
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON: D David Koci, D Darcy Robinson, C Matt Hussey, LW Alexander Zevakhin, C Kris Beech, LW Tomas Surovy
PHANTOMS: Dan Peters (concussion) and Mike Lephart.
1. PHI Andre Savage (two goals, two assists)
The Phantoms now own a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2) versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the First Union Spectrum.
The Phantoms headed to Norfolk after the contest to meet the Admirals tomorrow night in the first half of a home-and-home series. The clubs finish the set on Friday night in Philadelphia at 7:05 p.m.
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