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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms Lose 4-3 At Albany

Saturday, November 1, 2003

By Al Cohne
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

A third period Philadelphia Phantoms rally was not enough tonight at the Pepsi Arena as the Albany River Rats held on for a 4-3 victory.

Albany took a 3-0 lead into the third period before John Slaney and Ben Stafford scored less than two minutes apart to make it a one-goal game. However, Adrian Foster responded with the game-winning goal at 17:37 to help give the River Rats their first home win of the year. Scott Clemmensen, who has started every game for Albany thus far, made 23 saves on 26 shots.

Slaney finished with a goal and an assist, while Antero Niittymaki made 17 saves for Philadelphia, which fell to 0-4-1-1 in its last six games. The Phantoms' three-game unbeaten streak against Albany also came to an end.

Greg Crozier scored 44 seconds into the first power play of the game to give Albany a 1-0 lead. Steve Kariya and Ray Giroux had the assists at the 6:21 mark, as the Phantoms allowed just their second first-period goal of the season and first since Oct. 11.

Former Phantom Craig Darby doubled the lead to 2-0 when he took a pass from Kariya and put it over the shoulder of Niittymaki with 6:03 remaining in the first period. Mike Matteucci also assisted on Darby's third goal of the year.

After starting the period with an unsuccessful power play, the Phantoms surrendered an unassisted goal on the first shot of the second stanza to Maxim Balmochnykh to bring the Albany lead to 3-0.

The Phantoms snapped a 116:29 scoreless streak when Slaney put a power play goal by Clemmensen 5:17 into the third period. Mike Peluso and Dennis Seidenberg both had their first assists of the year on the play. Less than two minutes later, Stafford cut the deficit to one with his first goal of the year after taking a pass from P.J. Stock at the 6:51mark.

Adrian Foster sealed the win for the River Rats with his first goal of the year with 2:25 remaining in the game. Ilkka Pikkarainen and Jiri Bicek tallied the assists.

Peter Vandermeer gave the Phantoms life less than a minute later when he scored his first of the year after taking a pass from Slaney at 18:49, but then was sent to the penalty box 19 seconds later on a tripping call.

Stock, acquired on Wednesday from the Providence Bruins, announced his return to the Phantoms on his first shift of the game when he fought Albany's Alex Brooks 2:28 into the opening period, and got his first point with an assist in the third. Stock appeared in nine games with the Phantoms during the 2000-01 season.

The Phantoms conclude their four-game road trip on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in Hershey. Philadelphia then returns to the Wachovia Spectrum on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Hershey Bears before heading back to Hershey next Saturday night.

Phantoms Notes: Joey Hope, Nick Deschenes, Jeff Smith and Randy Jones were scratches for the Phantoms...Jim Vandermeer made his first appearance with the club after appearing in seven games with the Philadelphia Flyers this season...The Phantoms are 4-8-2 all-time when playing in Albany...The Phantoms have matched last season's longest losing (5) and winless (6) streaks.

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