|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Blank Bridgeport 3-0
Niittymaki Makes 21 Saves to Record the Shutout
Saturday, September 27, 2003
By Al Cohen
Antero Niittymaki stopped all 21 shots he faced and the Philadelphia Phantoms remained unbeaten in AHL preseason play with a 3-0 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this afternoon at the Polonia Bank Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia.
Niittymaki made 13 of his 21 saves during the second period and turned aside just three shots in the final 20 minutes to complete his second career preseason shutout. Ironically, Niittymaki and the Phantoms also posted a 3-0 win last year during their lone preseason game at the Polonia Bank Flyers Skate Zone, with that victory coming against the Norfolk Admirals.
Cherry Hill, N.J. native James Laux finished with a goal and an assist and Kirby Law added two assists for Philadelphia, which improved to 2-0-1 in 2003 preseason action. The Phantoms wrap up their exhibition slate this Friday, Oct. 3 at 7:05 p.m. with a rare game against their parent club the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Philadelphia opened the scoring at 12:29 of the first period during a 5-on-3 power play. Kirk Furey and Law worked the puck around to rookie defenseman Freddy Meyer, who uncorked a shot from the point that sailed past Bridgeport goaltender Scott Stirling.
The Phantoms doubled their lead with 76 seconds to go in the opening period during a scramble in front of the Sound Tigers net. Free agent acquisition Boyd Kane placed it past Stirling on the play, with assists going to Laux and Law.
Following a scoreless second period, Laux capped the scoring with 2:44 remaining in the game. Wade Skolney and Peter White set up the goal for the rookie defenseman.
The game featured seven fights and a combined 120 penalty minutes. Peter Vandermeer and Robert Snowball each dropped the gloves twice, while Skolney, Mike Siklenka and Nick Deschenes all fought once.
Stirling recorded 29 saves for the Sound Tigers, who had skated to a scoreless tie with the Worcester IceCats on Friday. Bridgeport was 0-for-11 on the power play today.
Phantoms Notes: Philadelphia outshot Bridgeport, 32-21 ... The teams will face each other six times during the regular season ... Phantoms goaltenders have a current shutout streak of 92:23 this preseason since allowing a goal by Albany's Erik Jensen at 12:37 of the second period in Wednesday's 2-2 tie with the River Rats ... White, Skolney and Kane served as assistant captains.
The Phantoms open the 2003-04 regular season on Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:05 p.m., when they host the Binghamton Senators at the Wachovia Spectrum. Tickets to all Phantoms home games are $19, $18 and $14 for adults, and $8 for all children 14 and under, and are available now at the Wachovia Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations throughout the Delaware Valley. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling (215) 336-2000, (856) 338-9000 or (302) 984-2000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Contact the Phantoms office at 215-465-4522 or log on to www.phantomshockey.com for information on group discounts, birthday packages and the Family Four Pack.
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