Admirals Blank Phantoms, 1-0
Sunday, January 12, 2003
By Patrick Williams
PHILADELPHIA - Bottom line, the Norfolk Admirals are a very safe bet when holding a lead going into the third period. Norfolk (24-13-2-3, 53 points) illustrated that point to the Phantoms last night at the First Union Spectrum in a 1-0 win over the hosts. Igor Radulov's second-period goal was enough offense for the Admirals. Veteran goaltender Steve Passmore's 15-save night anchored the Norfolk defense.
Last night's loss halted a two-game winning streak for the Phantoms (17-17-1-3, 38 points), who were seeking their first three-game winning streak since December 1-7, 2001. Last night was the fourth time the Phantoms have been shut out this season.
The Phantoms' Neil Little countered 18 saves. Little has surrendered just four goals in his past four starts. Norfolk, meanwhile, ran its road record to 15-5-1-1. The Admirals have won six of their last seven contests.
Phantoms head coach John Stevens chose to see the bright side for his club, playing its fourth game in five nights. Philadelphia captured points in four of the five games.
"I think we made some good steps as a team this weekend," Stevens said. "We won a couple of games on the road and came here and played hard tonight. The loss tonight was not because of a lack of effort, we had chances to score but didn't. I am proud of the team for mustering up enough energy to compete."
Veteran heavyweights Shawn Thornton and Peter Vandermeer started things off at 7:11 with a scrap right off the faceoff. The two traded punches before falling on the ice. While on the ice, Thornton threw an extra jab at Vandermeer's midsection, prompting referee Dan O'Rourke to issue Thornton a game misconduct.
Admirals general manager Al MacIsaac said during the first intermission that Thornton was reacting to his hand being sliced by Vandermeer's skate.
The Phantoms threatened nine minutes into the opening period after a Jeff Helperl minor for cross-checking. Philadelphia generated pressure on Passmore. Greig muscled a shot from the top of the slot through traffic that Passmore sticked aside. Moments later, with Passmore down, White rang a shot off the post.
Little was solid in his own end. A Philadelphia defensive-zone giveaway found the stick of Norfolk defenseman Jonathan Aitken. Aitken circled through the Philadelphia defense before flinging a shot from the top of the left circle toward Little that was stopped.
The teams bottled each other offensively through the first 30 minutes, each team recording seven shots apiece. Finally at 12:16, Radulov stepped out of the left corner and, while falling, nudged a shot from the left circle that fooled Little for a 1-0 Norfolk lead.
Norfolk outshot the Phantoms, 6-3, in the middle period. The Phantoms' three shot tied a season-low for a period that was first established on December 20 on home ice.
Worse for the Phantoms, the Admirals have not lost this season when holding a lead to start the third period.
Philadelphia's attack awakened early in the third period, as the Phantoms post five shots on goal within the period's first seven minutes. The Phantoms' best chance came on a Kirby Law snap shot from the left point. Traffic in front caught Passmore leaning the wrong way, but Law's shot nicked the far post and left the Phantoms scoreless.
Little, like Stevens, was looking for positives in the loss. "We fought hard all weekend but lost this one - that is not because of a lack of effort," said Little. "We have to attribute that to fatigue, it was our fourth game in five nights. That is going to make a difference coming here and playing a good Norfolk team that doesn't give you a lot."
SOUTH JERSEY SPORTS INSIDE THE GAME
Peter Vandermeer's two fighting majors brought him to 18 on the season. The 27-year-old winger trails only Rochester rookie Sean McMorrow, who has tangled 22 times in the first half of the season.Vandermeer posted 14 penalty minutes on the night, bringing his season total to 162, good for third in the league. Matt Henderson, a Phantom during the 1999-2000 campaign, assisted on the Radulov goal.Announced attendance was 6,214.
NORFOLK: RW Yorick Treille, LW Louie DeBrusk, LW Quintin Laing
PHANTOMS: D Bruno St. Jacques (shoulder), D Ian Forbes, LW Jeff Smith, LW Jack Baker, C Patrick Sharp (ankle)
1.NOR - Passmore (15 saves)
The Phantoms head up to Rochester for a meeting with the Amerks on Wednesday night. Cleveland visits the First Union Spectrum on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
The Phantoms and Admirals get together once again next Saturday night, this time at the Scope in Norfolk. Norfolk hosts Syracuse on Wednesday and Friday night.
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