Ad SJSports Online
High School Links

Ice Hockey Links

Event Spotlight:
Phantoms Finally Light Lamp in 3-1 Loss to Grand Rapids

Saturday, January 25, 2003

By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Phantoms ended their scoreless streak at 165:24 minutes but their offense let them down for the third straight game in a 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in front of 14,762 at the First Union Center.

The Phantoms could not capitalize on four power play opportunities in the first period and neither team generated much offense in the tightly played period.

Grand Rapids also failed to take advantage of their two opportunities with the man advantage and the battle ensued to see which team would score first.

Following a flurry of shots by the Phantoms’ Mark Greig and Jack Baker on goaltender Joey MacDonald, the play quickly moved down the other end of the ice and Michel Picard beat Phantoms’ goaltender, Neil Little to put the Griffins up 1-0 at 15:07 of the second period.

Tim Skarperud almost put Grand Rapids up 2-0 less than two minutes later. Following a Phantoms turnover in the neutral zone, Skarperud split the defense but fired high on the breakaway.

Grand Rapids scored their second goal of the night at 3:22 of the third period and Skarperud came back to haunt Philadelphia again. Skarperud’s shot from the side of the net squirted behind Little, who lost sight of the puck. The Griffins’ Mark Mowers was right on the doorstep to tap it home for his 21st goal of the season.

Peter White ended the Phantoms’ scoreless streak with a power-play goal at 5:19 of the third period when the visitors were unable to clear the initial shot by Mark Greig.

The Phantoms’ power play is 24th in the league (35 for 260) overall and 24 for 143 at home.

Grand Rapids came right back and regained the two-goal lead on a power play goal by Stacy Roest at 11:00 of the third.

Phantoms’ goaltender Neil Little misplayed the puck behind the net on a Travis Richards dump. A weird bounce left the puck in front of the net and Little left to do nothing but watch Roest net his 15th goal of the season on the power play.

We created chances early on but we need to bear down and score on those chances…we spent a lot of time in the offensive zone but we didn’t get the puck on the net, said Phantoms’ Head Coach John Stevens. If you don’t compete, you don’t have a chance to win. I felt the effort was there tonight.

Neil Little (8-10-1) stopped 14 shots in a losing effort and Joey MacDonald (9-3-0) stopped 28 shots in earning the win for Grand Rapids.


1. Joey MacDonald (Grand Rapids)
2. Michel Picard (Grand Rapids)
3. Peter White (Philadelphia)

Selected by: David W. Unkle of WNJC 1360-AM (Philadelphia)


Today’s attendance of 14,762 was a season-high for the Phantoms along with a season-high for the American Hockey League. The previous AHL-high this season was 14,031 at Chicago on October 12, 2002.

The Phantoms established a franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a period (one shot in the 3rd period) last night in Norfolk.

The Phantoms tied a season low for shots allowed in a game (17).

Peter Vandermeer played in his 200th AHL game last night and Kirby Law played in his 200th game as a Philadelphia Phantom on Wednesday.

For more information, check out the Phantoms website at:

Photos by Pedro Cancel

Click here for more articles from David Unkle
©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.