Phantoms Fall 2-0 to Utah
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
By Al Cohen
Jason Bacashihua stopped all 28 shots he faced to notch his second shutout of the season and lead the Utah Grizzlies to a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at the First Union Spectrum. Bacashihua was particularly effective in the first period with 12 saves, including stopping a 2-on-1 rush and a pair of point-blank shots by Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Barrett Heisten and Jeff MacMillan each netted goals during the opening 20 minutes to help Utah open a five-game road trip in successful fashion.
Neil Little finished with 24 saves for Philadelphia, which had its season-high three-game winning streak halted and was blanked for the fifth time in 2002-03. The team has still captured seven of its last 10 games as it entered into a four-game in five-day stretch.
"We knew it was a big stretch of games coming up," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We had ample opportunities to score a goal and get a point. We didn't work and compete enough to get a point. With a better effort, we could have won ourselves a hockey game."
Utah opened the scoring 7:30 into the game on Heisten's fifth goal of the year. After taking a feed from David Gosselin, Heisten had his initial shot blocked by Little, but the puck rebounded right back to him and he tapped it in. Gavin Morgan also assisted on the play.
The Grizzlies doubled their lead with 19 seconds to go in the first period during a 4-on-4 situation. Former Phantom Jim Montgomery began the play with some nifty puck work in the corner before dumping it back to MacMillan in the near circle. The defenseman then beat Little with a shot into the top left corner for his sixth goal of the season.
Philadelphia fell to 0-3 vs. the Grizzlies this year, having suffered a pair of one-goal setbacks over a three-day span in November. Utah, which was making its first-ever appearance in Philadelphia, will take on the Phantoms at the First Union Center this Sunday at 1:35 p.m.
"We didn't have a very good start," said Phantoms captain Mark Greig. "It's hard to battle back in this league. We didn't work hard enough in the defensive zone. You have to be ready to play in this league. We have to play our hardest to be rewarded. The veterans have to prepare the rookies every night. We didn't do a good job of that tonight."
Philadelphia plays at Norfolk on Friday before returning home to face the Grand Rapids Griffins at the First Union Center on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3:05 p.m. The first 4,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Simon Gagne bobblehead doll, courtesy of Toyota. Doors open at 2:00 p.m.
Phantoms Notes: Greig was reassigned from the Flyers earlier in the day...Philadelphia allowed a first-period goal for the first time in its last five games ... Kirby Law played in his 200th game as a Phantom ... Each team was 0-for-4 on the power play ... Little had allowed just five goals in his last five games entering tonight ... The Phantoms are 1-2 all-time on Jan. 22.
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