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Ice Hockey Spotlight:
Phantoms & Admirals Skate To 4-4 Tie

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Phantoms Correspondent

Kirby Law scored twice and Mark Murphy recorded three points as the Philadelphia Phantoms posted a 4-4 tie against the Norfolk Admirals tonight at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Antero Niittymaki finished with a team season-high 35 saves for Philadelphia, which extended its unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1). The Phantoms are also 3-0-2 in their last five home games since suffering a 5-3 loss to Cincinnati two weeks ago.

Adam Munro totaled 22 saves for Norfolk, which rallied from a 4-1 third-period deficit to notch the point. The Admirals have now won just one of their last eight games overall (1-3-2-2) and one of their last 11 on the road (1-6-2-2). Norfolk and Philadelphia are 1-1-1 against each other this season, with seven match-ups remaining.

The Admirals opened the scoring just 1:48 into the game when Pavel Vorobiev netted his second of the year. After taking a feed from Matt Ellison, Mikhail Yakubov took the initial shot and Vorobiev was there to knock the rebound past Niittymaki.

The score remained the same until the 8:37 mark of the second period, when Peter Vandermeer tallied his second goal of the season. Following a scrum in the corner, Vandermeer came up with a loose puck, skated in on net and placed a wrister over Munro's shoulder. Craig Berube and Ben Stafford received assists on the equalizer.

For Berube, it was the veteran's 200th point as a pro and his first in the AHL since the 1988-89 season when he was with the Hershey Bears.

Just 80 seconds later, Law scored his eighth goal to give the Phantoms a 2-1 advantage. Patrick Sharp began the sequence when he stole a clearing pass by Munro from behind the net. Sharp quickly worked the puck to Murphy, who set up Law for a backhander into the lower right corner.

The Phantoms widened the gap to 3-1 with 2:03 to go in the middle period. On the power play, Peter White and Kirk Furey advanced the puck to Murphy, who beat Munro near post for his eighth of the year.

Law netted his second of the game 3:02 into the third thanks to Murphy and Sharp again. Sharp split two Admirals to enter the Norfolk zone before Murphy found Law, who got Munro out of position for his second multi-goal game this season.

"Sharp and Murphy got a good forecheck (on his first goal) and they turned it over," said Law. "Murph threw it in the slot and I had the goalie going one way and I was going the other and it was basically an empty net. The second one was basically the same thing. We had a 3-on-2, Murph threw it across, the goalie was going one way and I came back the other. Both great plays by Murph and Sharpie."

But Norfolk stormed back with three straight goals to even the score at 4-4. Matt Keith began the rally with his fifth goal at the 4:34 mark on a long slap shot through traffic. Matt Ellison followed with a power-play marker, his sixth, at 7:40 to make it a one-goal game.

Michal Barinka netted the game-tying goal at 8:07 of the third when his slap shot from the far circle went in and out of Niittymaki's glove before trickling over the goal line. Blake Bellefeuille and Carsen Germyn assisted on Barinka's third goal of the year.

"To be honest with you we felt very lucky to be up 4-1 to begin with," said Phantoms head coach John Stevens. "We only played maybe 25 minutes of hockey tonight and in the third period a 4-1 game should be over. But we lost our composure and ability to play and we let a team outwork us and get back into the hockey game. It feels like a loss and not a tie."

The Phantoms complete their three-game homestand on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when they play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia then closes out the month in Albany on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Phantoms Notes: The injured scratches were Freddy Meyer, Randy Jones, Mike Siklenka, Nick Deschenes and John Slaney ... Furey has five assists in his last four games ... Dennis Seidenberg had his six-game point streak snapped ... Murphy has nine points (4G, 5A) in his last four games ... This was the fourth straight game in which a Phantom had a multi-goal game.

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