|Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Niittymaki Named AHL Player Of The Week
Phantoms Goaltender Posted 0.41 Goals-Against Average In Three Games
Sunday, November 16, 2003
By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms goaltender Antero Niittymaki today was named the Sher-Wood AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 16. In three appearances last week, Niittymaki went 1-0-1, posted a 0.41 goals-against average and stopped 61-of-62 shots he faced (.984 save percentage).
Niittymaki's week began on Wednesday when he came on for the third period of a 5-3 loss to Cincinnati and turned aside all four Mighty Ducks shots he saw. Niittymaki then made 33 saves in a 1-1 tie vs. Cincinnati on Friday, only allowing a power-play goal by Chris Kunitz during the first period.
On Sunday vs. Providence, Niittymaki registered 24 saves to notch his first career AHL shutout. His performance included stopping a penalty shot during the second period, a breakaway in the third and nine Bruins power plays.
"I thought Antero played great last week, only allowing one goal in three games," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "He has been set back by a few injuries this season, but is playing at the top of his game now."
In recognition of his achievement, Niittymaki will receive a Sher-Wood leather jacket, presented to him during an on-ice ceremony prior to this Friday's game vs. the Lowell Lock Monsters. In addition, Sher-Wood will donate five travel bags to the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia in Niittymaki's name.
Niittymaki is 3-4-2 this season with a 2.11 GAA and .919 save percentage. He was drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and played professionally in his native Finland for TPS Turku from 1999-2002 before posting a 14-21-2 record and 2.58 GAA in 40 games with the Phantoms last season.
The 23-year-old Niittymaki is the first Phantom to win the AHL Player of the Week award since Mark Greig did so for the first week of the 2001-02 season. He is also the ninth AHL Player of the Week honoree in club history.
The Phantoms return to action on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Lock Monsters at the Wachovia Spectrum. Philadelphia then plays at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday before entertaining the Portland Pirates on Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
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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