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Event Spotlight:
Grizzlies Skate Past Phantoms, 3-1

Sunday, January 26, 2003

By Patrick Williams
SJSports Special Correspondent

Yesterday's 3-1 Phantoms loss to the Utah Grizzlies contained some key distinctions between the two clubs: The Phantoms were not the team that traveled overnight from Massachusetts. Utah was. The Phantoms were not the team missing two key regulars (Eric Landry and David Oliver). Utah was. The Phantoms were not the team criss-crossing the continent in the midst of a two-week road trip. Utah was. Instead, the Phantoms followed their usual script: Fall behind early. Get into penalty trouble. Get outworked before the opponent seals up another victory.

The loss completed a woeful week for the Phantoms, who are now lugging a four-game losing streak. In those four losses, which have come just since last Wednesday, the Phantoms have scored just twice. Utah also swept the four-game season series.

Former Phantom Corey Hirsch was solid in net for the Grizzlies, making 19 saves. Grizzlies Steve Ott, Greg Hawgood and Gavin Morgan notched goals.

Peter White had the lone Phantoms goal. Antero Niittymaki survived a rocky start and stopped 25 Utah shots.

Discipline killed the Phantoms, who handed the Grizzlies eight power plays. Head coach John Stevens took note.

"We have to be willing to take a wack and get back at teams," Stevens said. "The effort was there, the discipline wasn't."

The Grizzlies opened the scoring at the 4:16 mark. Ott floated a shot from the right boards at the blue line that handcuffed Niittymaki.

Down two men eight minutes into the game, the Phantoms' Jack Baker gathered a loose puck at his own blue line and took off on a breakaway. Hirsch stayed with Baker, though, and turned aside Baker with a left pad save. Alexei Komarov tugged Baker with a hook that drew a penalty.

Seconds later, Gavin Morgan took another hooking minor that set up a Phantoms five-on-three advantage. Hirsch stopped two of Greig's opportunities.

With the power play winding down, Slaney threw a shot on net. The rebound popped out in front to White, who shoveled the puck behind Hirsch at 10:20. White's marker was his 29th of the year.

It did not take long for the Grizzlies to snap the 1-1 deadlock as the second period got underway. Hawgood beat Niittymaki with a shot from the left point at 1:01. The goal was Hawgood's seventh of the season.

The second period was an anemic one for the Phantoms, who produced just three shots on net. Believe it or not, however, it was not the team's low for a period this season or even this month, for that matter. Cleveland allowed just two shots to the Phantoms at the First Union Spectrum on January 17.

Down a goal, the Phantoms again failed to generate any sustained offensive attack. White and Greig had the best chance, when they teamed up on a two-on-one two minutes into the third. Greig hesitated before feeding White, and Hirsch stopped the attempt.

Morgan's empty-netter in the final minute wrapped up the win for the Grizzlies.



Utah defenseman Greg Hawgood played his 1000th professional contest. It was a weekend of milestones for Hawgood, who recorded the 700th point of his career on Saturday night against the IceCats. Fifty-nine of Hawgood's games came with the Fyler


With Skolney sideline, defenseman Kam White signed a PTO with the Phantoms before the game. White, 26, piled up 155 minutes in 36 games with Trenton. He also added a goal and six assists with the Titans. White made two appearances with the Phantoms last season.


PLUS: HAWGOOD (GRIZZLIES: Veteran defenseman reached his 1,000th career game as a pro, and then contributed a goal and an assist.

PLUS: HIRSCH (GRIZZLIES): Former Phantom netminder was solid as usual.

PLUS: GRIZZLIES: Team bused five-and-a-half hours from Massachusetts overnight and outskated the Phantoms all afternoon.

MINUS: MACNEIL (PHANTOMS): Winger was largely invisible, except for his two hooking minors in the middle of the game.

MINUS: ST. JACQUES (PHANTOMS): Took 10 minutes in penalties, including a double-minor for spearing at the close of the second period.

MINUS: SAVAGE (PHANTOMS): Center returned from the Flyers and went -2.

Photos by Pedro Cancel

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